We all know that we have two sides of our brain that work in conjunction with each other, or should work with each other. And we often hear people say "I'm a left-brained person" or "I'm a right-brained person". It is often true that one side or the other seems to be dominant in most people. For instance a successful accountant probably is left-brain dominant and an artist is most likely right brain dominant. But what about our emotions and our emotional reactions? Is it fair to say they are only being processed on one side or the other?
Below you will find a list of colors and the color spelled out, as you attempt to read the word and not the color notice the struggle within yourself. When reading it did you pause? Did you look and have to remind yourself of the instructions? Some of you will breeze right threw it and others will struggle. This is an example if you are right or left side thinker. Right side tries to say the color and left tries to read the color, often causing a conflict but because of many years of making a pathway between both sides you may only have a brief delay in ultimately completing the task. Have a try:
Now for some science.
We'll keep this light and uncomplicated. Our brain, like the rest of our anatomy, is made up of two halves, a left brain a right brain. There's a big fold that goes from front to back in our brain, essentially dividing it into two distinct and separate parts. Well, almost separate. They are connected to each other by a thick cable of nerves at the base of each brain. This sole link between the two giant processors is called the corpus collosum. Think of it as an Ethernet cable or network connection between two incredibly fast and immensely powerful computer processors, each running different programs from the same input.
The left side of our body is "wired" to the right side of our brain, and vice versa. For whatever reason nature did this cross-over, it applies even to our eyes, which process a majority of their sensory data on opposite sides of the brain. "The main theme to emerge... is that there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres respectively and that our education system, as well as science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it comes down to is that modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere." -Roger Sperry (1973)
In individuals with autism the left and right brain hemispheres are more often than not, not communicating with each other. The left (analytic) or logical hemisphere of the brain is: verbal, responds to word meaning, is sequential, processes information linearly, responds to logic and plans ahead, recalls people’s names, speaks with few gestures, is punctual, prefers formal study design, prefers bright lights while studying. The right (global) or artistic hemisphere is: visual, responds to tone of voice, is random and processes information in varied order, responds to emotion, is impulsive, recalls people’s faces, gestures when speaking, is less punctual, prefers sound or music in the background while studying and prefers frequent mobility while studying.
There are many benefits to using music with people on the autism spectrum. One of these benefits is that Music provides the structural regularity that children with autism need. Within that structure it is possible to expand that child’s repertoire of functioning. Depending on the child’s placement on the autism spectrum I find that music assists with communication in different ways. For the child at the severe end, music is often the means of communication. Often, as I start a music session for children at this portion of the spectrum, the excitement and pleasure of music is clearly visible.
Cutting-edge research points to children with autism needing multiple types of stimulation in order to process information. The combination of music and dance help the brain to reorganize itself. In dance, the child processes music, learns movement, performs movement to that music, then repeats it multiple times. The hearing, listening, processing, executing and repetition enable a child’s brain to forge new pathways, engaging both the right and left side of the brain.
1. We think in images … therefore art stimulates the creation of new images and ideas that promote the creative process both narrowly in an artistic way and broadly in a creation of solutions in living.
2. Art is another Language… that is used less often to communicate and therefore is not as easily controlled. Unexpected thoughts and feelings can burst forth in a picture or a sculpture and often form the beginning for insight, learning and growth.
3. Artwork is permanent…and is not subjected to distortions of memory. It remains the same. It can be viewed intact weeks and months later. Reviewing their artwork can help individuals develop new insights over time.
4. In art experiences and relationships occur in space …and are not limited to time. All at once the present time can be portrayed in artwork as it is influenced by past experiences and future wishes.
5. Art promotes more open and revealing discussions…as individuals are more comfortable talking about their artwork than having a face- to- face discussion with another person.
6. Art can be used in daily living…and individuals are taught how to use art therapeutically to help themselves after therapy sessions end
Most pediatricians will tell you that linking your child withAutistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger’s Syndrome into drama classes is probably the most effective intervention, to assist them with the development of social skills and broader imaginative play. Many of the children on the autism spectrum love drama, music or dance. They often respond very well to one or more of these methods.
Today I read an interesting articular, about the word "disorder". It made me start thinking, there are many controversy's about "Label's". Should you label your child or anyone for that matter? Well, in my opinion if you have a friend or family member who is a fast runner, in fact he is so good that he has won many medal's, do you introduce him as " This is Joe he has running man syndrome"? Well I personal would have to say no, but it would be great for a laugh.
My son has 18 diagnoses, and before I knew all of his diagnoses he was just my little man, who was clumsy, quite, ear's like a hawk, fickle, and so forth. After his diagnoses he was/had, CP, dyspraxia, , Apraxia, SPD, Autism and on and on. Now that being said I know that without knowing what my child diagnoses are I would not be able to help him be the best he can be. But where do you draw the line, where do you see you or your child as just you or your child and not a DX? That is a question we all must ponder but here is some food for thought.
In the means of art's, it is the common denominator, you can be "nerotypical" or can have a "disability" and you can either dance or you can't, you can draw or you can't, you can sing or you can't, you can act or you can't. Well you get the point, regardless of your abilities they do not define who you or your child is. It does not determine what they/you do great, or what they/you do differently. It is just like anything else, we all have our quirks our talents, the things that drive our spouses crazy, makes someone fall in love with us or just make you, YOU. So be proud of all the things that are different and unique about you/your child, there is only one like them!
You know your a parent of a special need child when the Doctors offices/specialist and hospital see you so much they invite you to THEIR family gatherings.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when you teach your child the ABC's by using the different diagnosis they have.
You know your a parent of a special needs parent when on a daily bases say to to your child " do not drink the dog's water" Stop licking the cat" I don't care if you want to see were the water in the toilet goes we do NOT stick our head or our brothers head in it. " It is not OK ask someone if there have a baby in them"
You know your a parent of a special needs child when the school send homes a coloring page with a X over prescription drugs and the word NO and you have to call and tell them they can not send that home because your child uses more prescription med's then a senior citizen and they are OK in our house.
You know your a parent of a special need child when the OT/PT/SLP will call YOU and ask for recommendations for other students.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when no matter how tired/stressed/overwhelmed with your own life if another parent of a special needs child needs you, you drop everything and lend support.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when you type a FB status after a long day of melt downs a description of your day and you get 30 comments of support and 1 from a nerotypical parent saying they will grow out of it.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when you have to hold yourself from smacking a mom of a "typical" child as she expresses just how hard her life is.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when you diagnosis other parents, co-workers, strangers, strangers children, family members, and even worse carton characters.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when then word IEP strike fear into your heart.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when you are seating at the IEP meeting and they hand you your parents rights 200 page booklet and ask if you have reviewed your rights and you give a chuckle because you know it so well that you can quote it in your sleep.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when sleeping like a baby is a true statement to the fact of being woke up every hour.
You know your a parent of a special needs child when you embrace your child's speech impediment
And final you know your a special needs parent of you read all of this and laughed, shaked your head and forward it to others.!
In general, partnering is "an effort by both the male and female dancers to achieve a harmony of movement so that the audience is unaware of the mechanics, and simply enjoy the emotional effects. Also known as pas de deux, or dance for two."
For a male dancer, partnering includes lifting, catching, and carrying a partner, also assisting with jumps, promenades and supported pirouettes (turns).
DXDA company members Tavon, and our newest addition Jazmin, did just that today-- and it was truly epic in nature! As a teacher, director and choreographer, I am always proud of my dancers but today I was beyond proud. The things that many aka "typical" dancers take for granted, are treasured milestones we accomplish with every bit of DXDA dancers being.
Why is this a big deal you may ask?
I wanted to touch base with all my parents; progress is sometimes hard to see when we, as parents, see what our kiddos are up against. Over the past month and a half I have seen such huge steps that have filled my heart with such joy. I know that some families feel that their kiddo is not moving along as fast as we parents tend to desire, but just like with most new things-- it takes time. Dance promotes cognitive, emotional, social and physical health in individuals and benefits to our children in so many ways outside of dance. These five things do not happen or change over one, ten, or even twenty 45min classes-- they happen as baby steps, unique to the moves and shakes of each individual.
As a personal note; my son Uziah who has 17 DX has always been the one who stands in the background, does not interact with strangers and is not the dancing type. The first few classes my youngest, Gideon, jumped right in and was ready to move, shake, and get his dance on, as Uziah sat and watched. I felt so sad that he didn't want to join in with the group, and that he didn't enjoy it like I wanted him to. But I knew, just like most things with Uziah, he is an individual and does things at his rate. His first words at 5 years old were music to my ears after being told he would never speak, but if I would have said to myself, "well, he is never going to talk" then where would we be today? And potty training was a mess to say the least, I knew that if I just kept trying new approaches, then he would get it, and almost a year ago today he is potty trained. Why I bring this up is because we are a breed of parents that seek to give our children what any parent wants, and that is to fit in and be proud of who they are. I know that each and every one of us is proud of our children. We are lucky to have the understanding to see the accomplishments, wonderful milestones and beautiful gifts of our children as they open in front of us when we least expect it.
Just to explain further the benefits of dance, below are a few things that dance provides to our children:
Today I was meeting with a great organization, and started to think how far we have come as a society in the views of disabilities. Don't get me wrong, we always have work to be done, but it starts with each one of us. No matter if you are a person with special abilities, a family member, social aid, teachers, life coach etc.-- not accepting a limitation but rather looking for a solution.
I think the best example would be if you were starving and only had a can of food with visual means to open it, would you just sit there and go hungry? I have to say that most people would fight, come up with creative solutions and not give up. This is how we need to view everyday, always looking for the way to improve, to not limit but to provide others with the tools to advocate for themselves, to get the job they want, to show the world that we may get to the goal in a different way, but we still reach our goals.
To give you a run down of just how things have changed take a look from the 15th century to 1990's what can we do the change the next century?