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Dance/movement therapy and autistic disorder : a case analysis of a father/son interaction
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|Title: ||Dance/movement therapy and autistic disorder : a case analysis of a father/son interaction|
|Authors: ||Cornman, Douglas E.|
|Keywords: ||Autistic Disorder -- in infancy & childhood -- case studies.|
Cerebral Palsy -- in adulthood -- case studies.
Dance Therapy -- in adulthood -- case studies.
Dance Therapy -- in infancy & childhood -- case studies.
Father-Child Relations -- case studies.
|Issue Date: ||Aug-1997 |
|Abstract: ||Dance/Movement Therapy (D/MT) has been a successful intervention in the
treatment of autistic children. Depending on the needs of the child, intervention may be
individual (therapist and child) or include members of the child's family. In the past, most
family D/MT intervention has focused on the mother/child dyad since this has traditionally
been the primary care giving relationship. In an effort to document the importance of the
paternal influence on the development of an autistic child, this study examined the
relationship between a father and his autistic son and the effects that D/MT had on that
relationship. The following three hypotheses were proposed: 1) D/MT would promote
positive change in the relationship by expanding both the father's and son's movement
repertoire, thus providing options for more successful interaction; 2) the son's level of
functioning would increase in correlation with this positive change; and 3) the father's
stress level concerning both his relationship to his child and his own parenting style would
decrease based upon his gaining an understanding of their relationship on a movement
The subjects participating in this study were a thirty-seven-year-old father, who is
diagnosed with degenerative Cerebral Palsy, and his three-year-old autistic son. The dyad
received six weekly D/MT sessions. They were rated pre- and post- D/MT intervention.
The father's relationship to his son, the son's relationship to his father, and the father/son
relationship was rated on the Nonverbal Assessment for Family Systems scale (Dulicai,
1977), the child's relationship to his father was rated on the Relationship to an Adult,
Communication, Drive for Mastery, and Body Movement scales of the Behavioral Rating
Instrument for Autistic and Other Atypical Children (Ruttenberg, Kalish, Wenar, & Wolf,
1977 & Ruttenberg, Wolf-Schein, & Wenar, 1991) and the father's stress levels were rated
by the Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1986).
Results at post-test supported the study's initial hypotheses. Both the father and son
displayed a broader movement repertoire which increased their interactional options. The
son demonstrated increased skill in each of the four scales of the BRIAAC. Finally, the
father's overall level of stress concerning his son and his parenting style decreased. The
positive results of this study suggest that fathers are important participants in the treatment
of autistic children. They also suggest that using the design of this study with a larger
sample size and research concerning the father/child relationship in general is warranted.|
|Description: ||ix, 164 l. : forms ;|
|Appears in Collections:||Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations|
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