Autism Dance Camp

Miami Dance Project is using music and movement to reach children with autism

This summer, the non-profit Miami Dance Project has been using music and movement to reach and teach children with autism.

For the past six weeks, a special dance therapy camp has been taking place at New Image Dance Studio in Kendall. 

Barbara Delgado has been running the studio for 12 years. While there are many trophies and medals on display, this group of students has been the most rewarding.

Delgado says “even though they might not have the same capability as my competition studio, the want and the passion for dance has been incredible.”  

Delgado is certified in autism movement therapy and saw a need for teaching them a creative form of communication.

 “A lot of children with autism have that problem of having to express and convey emotion, and through dance we're teaching them how to tap into those emotions.” 

The students have grown leaps and bounds since the camp started in June, for example, 6-year-old Runa Nozawa.

Delgado says “she's not very verbal and she's very shy. As she's progressed in the class, she's a little more outspoken.”

Ten-year-old Amanda Lopez likes hip-hop, but it's not just about moves on the dance floor. Amanda's mother has noticed progress at home.

“She's getting her motor skills better, her coordination, following instructions which is sometimes a little hard for them to do “ says Sonia Lopez. 

Teaching them patterns help with the consistency they need, along with plenty of praise. 
Eleven-year-old Kayden Vega says ”it's fun and fantastic.”   
The camp ends on Friday. Starting next month, autism movement therapy will be available as an after school program at Bent Tree Elementary in West Miami-Dade. Classes will be free and open to children and teens.
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