Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


The literature review investigated the use of mirroring to help develop emotional understanding through social learning with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The research reviewed was used to further cognize how mirroring could give a child with ASD a better understanding of their own and others’ emotions through social learning. The findings revealed that mirroring could be an affective tool to build social awareness of emotions in children diagnosed with ASD. The mirror neuron system (MNS) is the area of the brain that assesses perception and production of movement creating an overlap. Using the idea of the mirror neuron system, mirroring was a tool created to enhance emotional understanding, which findings revealed to be beneficial for the emotional inconsistencies seen in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Expressive therapies (ET) have implemented affective treatment techniques for children diagnosed with ASD who are in need of social learning skills. They build these social learning skills by mirroring a child’s intention and modeling emotions. Mirroring is a strong focus of dance movement therapists. DMT’s noticed that a child’s movements could connect to their emotions, which are learned throughout development. Future application of this research will benefit the field of Dance Movement Therapy as well as benefit individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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