Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Meg Chang


Over the past few years there has been a growth in research about the social and emotional effects of having a language-based learning disability. However, most of the interventions and assessments used with this population still primarily focus on the academic effects and do not always recognize the connection between the two. This literature review connects how identity development during adolescence in a school setting is impacted by the social and emotional effects of having a language-based learning disability. Individuals who experience learning difficulties often also experience internal and external academic criticism causing a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms. Dance/movement therapy can be used to enhance interventions and assessments in order to address cognitive, emotional, somatic, and social aspects of this population by allowing individuals to express internal states nonverbally, allowing individuals to feel seen, and creating safety and structure. This review also identifies the areas of potential growth within the current approaches such as understanding differences within the population, giving agency to the clients, and understanding clinician power dynamics. Dance/movement therapy strategies such as nonverbal communication, mindfulness, and the use of imagery can help to address some of these areas of potential growth. Further collaborative research among clients, families, clinicians, and teachers will be necessary in order to create assessments that are inclusive and use the strengths of the individual.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.