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‘Home away from home’: Examining the lived experiences of a child with ASD in a recreational dance setting
Research in Dance Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-11-21, DOI: 10.1080/14647893.2021.2005559
Isabella Seguin, Paula C. Fletcher


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition characterized by restrictive, repetitive patterns of behaviour, and impairments in social communication. Various forms of physical activity, including dance, have shown to improve ASD symptoms among children. The study’s purpose was twofold: to examine the lived experiences of a family with a child with ASD, in order to examine family functioning and the effects of the child’s participation in a dance programme. The family unit and dance instructor participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews, which included a myriad of questions about the family, and the child’s participation in a recreational dance programme. One salient main theme that emerged was Dance, Dance, Dance, with three subthemes: (1) ‘Home Away from Home’ (studio as a representation of home), (2) Growing as a Person (physically, emotionally,socially), and (3) Lessons Learned (bidirectional learning between student and teacher). Dance provided many benefits to the child, including improvements in social and listening skills, as well as confidence. Further, dance allowed the child to grow socially and personally. This study may act as a support for other families faced with an ASD diagnosis, as well as highlight the benefits of recreational dance programmes for children with ASD.