Kids with autism can find expression in dance


PETALING JAYA: While some people with autism communicate through painting and music, others can do it through rhythmic movement.

That’s why Janet Moo has introduced Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP), a method of helping individuals with autism explore their creativity in a supportive environment.

Speaking to FMT, Moo said DMP helped children with autism develop social interaction and communication skills, flexibility of thought and imagination by stimulating their creativity.

“It draws on creativity for a more fulfilling life for the participant, rather than offering a purely remedial approach for a particular problem,” she added.

Moo, a psychology, dance and psychotherapy graduate, is a registered psychotherapist.

She said DMP allowed children with autism and limited verbal capacity to express themselves non-verbally through movement.

“Studies show that DMP helps children improve in terms of restlessness, fidgeting, temper tantrums and inattentiveness, besides developing social skills.”

She said DMP also offered support to parents of children with autism.

“When children with autism are able to understand and relate to themselves and others, parents will find it easier to relate to and communicate with them.”

She said generating awareness of DMP and convincing people to try it could be a challenge, but a worthwhile one.

“Psychotherapy is not a quick fix, but it can facilitate lasting change,” she added.

Moo is now looking towards building DMP awareness in Malaysia with the support of the National Autism Society. Next month, they will present a talk and run a workshop on the theme of “Dance Movement Therapy and Autism”.