If you missed it, something extremely exciting happed this year. Scott Cronan from Upworthy.org asked if I would be part of his documentary. What could I say? I knew of Upworthy and because I like their mission, of course, I said yes!
Overall comments were positive and I learned about Andrew Palermo, the professor from UCI, who appeared in the documentary.
What I didn't expect is that some would be offended by the title. I only see the title on the Upworthy Presents page on Facebook. It's called "Dance Therapy".
I want to explain why some therapists would be upset. There is a psychological therapeutic specialty called Dance Therapy, the Trademark is Dance/Movement Therapy™ or DMT™. The American of Dance/Movement Therapy Association can be found via Facebook, and searches online.
My background is in dance. I am a dancer and dance instructor with a BA in Dance from UCLA, I have been teaching for more years than I want to admit and for the past 5 years I have been a Certified Autism Movement Therapy® Provider Level II. Autism Movement Therapy® or AMT is a program using dance, behavior analysis techniques, and theory of the brain and creating new pathways in the brain created by Joanne Lara.
Far from psychological therapy or "talk" therapy this is a movement class with a goal. To help students on the Autism Spectrum create speech and improve communication. Along the way, confidence builds, behaviors to settle themselves may go away, unwanted behaviors like hitting can be stopped, social skills like taking turns with others and greeting one another improves. I cannot make the world change. But I can create a safe space for my students to be themselves, enjoy only praise, no criticism, and they are never asked to leave.
I call my program, copyrighted, A Dance Class For Me!© It's not your typical dance class. We tap in class now and at the end we have a tap jam. I love what I do. If people get upset because of the title of a documentary, well, I can't help that. But the concept is out there! People are talking about therapies they didn't know about before. Let's keep talking about Autism.
Elizabeth Rose Chacon
As I said, I was born a dancer. I love the word "dance" and I love dancing.