What is Movement Therapy ?

- By Somaiyya Jawaid Posted On - 23/05/2021

As we all know that “art therapy” is actually purposeful utilisation of visual arts materials in order to promote mental and emotional development. Individuals with autism are frequently highly visual thinkers so they express feelings and ideas via images may be very natural for some children.

Now the most common and important goals of using Movement therapy as Art is to p[romote and build up tolerance against unpleasant stimuli while channeling behavior which is “Self-stimulating” into an action based play. Since any movement is an art and obviously naturally enjoyable for almost all children despite their age, it can motivate these children to tolerate objects that have texture or smells they would alternatively avoid. So for example while working on any movement, for example, a child might find that he or she is capable of handling her body posture in different directions, the goal is for children to eventually learn these sensations until they apply these movements while doing daily life tasks.

Perception of children with Autism

Since Individuals with autism might face difficulties in understanding other people’s perspectives, movement therapy when brought into classrooms can actually promote and facilitate forming connections with peers as it offers a concrete way to see another person’s behaviour and how they are doing it. Furthermore, compulsive behaviors can be channeled into self-expression and enjoyment.


It facilitates communication and interaction with the client who are the most cut-off aspects, facilitating awareness of being and becoming alive that gradually enables a socialization process” .


Moving with the child has been a well-established technique of MOvement therapy, as the therapist reflects the child’s movement by mirroring, shadowing, echoing,and so on, thus all of these forms of reflections, known as empathic reflection, which actually forms the basis Movement Therapy interventions which have been shown to establish relationship between client and therapist.

The language ofthe child

Empathic reflection assists in expressing and reinforcing the client’s natural behaviours, that brings the client into a relationship.
Recent studies indicate that children with Autism who were mirrored by adults increased the behaviors of socialization and reciprocal play.
Movement Therapy uses elements of dance and movement as methods for therapeutic assessment and intervention.

Not like dance classes, where people learn steps or routines, movement therapy aims to channel movement and expression into forming relationships.

So Movement Therapy becomes an entry point that aids therapists to understand and learn how an autistic child processes information and communicates with his or her body. Utilising the movements of the autistic child as an indication, the movement therapists can actually see the child with his or her language.

This initial communication via body can guide the therapist to understand his verbal expression.

So through this the therapists can actually channel the child’s repetitive and restrictive behaviors toward social relatedness and creative communication.