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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2647

Title: Dance/movement therapy and autistic disorder : a case analysis of a father/son interaction
Authors: Cornman, Douglas E.
Keywords: Autistic Disorder -- in infancy & childhood -- case studies.;Cerebral Palsy -- in adulthood -- case studies.;Dance Therapy -- in adulthood -- case studies.;Dance Therapy -- in infancy & childhood -- case studies.;Father-Child Relations -- case studies.
Issue Date: Aug-1997
Abstract: Dance/Movement Therapy (D/MT) has been a successful intervention in the treatment of autistic children. Depending on the needs of the child, intervention may be individual (therapist and child) or include members of the child's family. In the past, most family D/MT intervention has focused on the mother/child dyad since this has traditionally been the primary care giving relationship. In an effort to document the importance of the paternal influence on the development of an autistic child, this study examined the relationship between a father and his autistic son and the effects that D/MT had on that relationship. The following three hypotheses were proposed: 1) D/MT would promote positive change in the relationship by expanding both the father's and son's movement repertoire, thus providing options for more successful interaction; 2) the son's level of functioning would increase in correlation with this positive change; and 3) the father's stress level concerning both his relationship to his child and his own parenting style would decrease based upon his gaining an understanding of their relationship on a movement level. The subjects participating in this study were a thirty-seven-year-old father, who is diagnosed with degenerative Cerebral Palsy, and his three-year-old autistic son. The dyad received six weekly D/MT sessions. They were rated pre- and post- D/MT intervention. The father's relationship to his son, the son's relationship to his father, and the father/son relationship was rated on the Nonverbal Assessment for Family Systems scale (Dulicai, 1977), the child's relationship to his father was rated on the Relationship to an Adult, Communication, Drive for Mastery, and Body Movement scales of the Behavioral Rating Instrument for Autistic and Other Atypical Children (Ruttenberg, Kalish, Wenar, & Wolf, 1977 & Ruttenberg, Wolf-Schein, & Wenar, 1991) and the father's stress levels were rated by the Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1986). Results at post-test supported the study's initial hypotheses. Both the father and son displayed a broader movement repertoire which increased their interactional options. The son demonstrated increased skill in each of the four scales of the BRIAAC. Finally, the father's overall level of stress concerning his son and his parenting style decreased. The positive results of this study suggest that fathers are important participants in the treatment of autistic children. They also suggest that using the design of this study with a larger sample size and research concerning the father/child relationship in general is warranted.
Description: ix, 164 l. : forms ;
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2647
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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