somewhere in the heart
in a crevice of my mind
a spark grows from the inside out
a revolution that becomes electric
The value of self-expression development to a youth or adult with neurological deficits cannot be understated as an engine of positive growth on multiple levels. Be it typing an essay or writing a short poem, playing a musical instrument or dancing up a storm, self expression can be a form of communication, a work of art and a pathway to bringing our inside selves to the outside.
By having typical children, those on the autism spectrum, with downs syndrome or executive function skill deficits practice story dancing, they actively rewire the cognitive-physical story of their lives. In this case, self-expression can become a self-regulatory, communication life line to individuals who may be otherwise verbally-challenged. All said, the greater task exists in getting the student to recognize the value.
What is self-expression anyway?
It is a willful expression from us usually communicating a message and is unique to each person. A painting, a way of dancing, the words chosen for a haiku, all of these denote an expression of the self.
Of all the tools and strategies I employ as a Special Educator, dancing ranks as a ‘top five’ tool in my collaborative work with individuals on the autism spectrum and what is known as attention deficit disorder. One of my students is #theFieldGeneral. I have had the honor to work on #theJCrew for close to seven years. As an entrepreneur-Special Educator my goal with #theFieldGeneral has been to go above and beyond toward his rapid, multi-faceted development. This includes the ability to be masterful at soccer air dribbling, to play basketball like a Harlem Globetrotter, to lance arrows at his targets like an Olympian…and finally, to enter the dance floor co-performing Afro-Cuban Salsa and Electronic music.
Dancing carries considerable value as a method of intervention for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. It addresses the gross motor skills, their sensory skills, and actively integrates the executive functioning skills in tandem with both hemispheres of the brain.
Parents can keep it simple by playing music and just dancing with their children. Aside from its cognitive-physical synchronistic benefits, it is liberating and it sais to the child that the parent values liberty, amongst other things. It is communication without words then. An act of self-expression.