Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Annette Whitehead-Pleaux


Parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have more stress than parents of neurotypical children (Foster, Swain, and Scarpa, 2018). There is minimal research published exploring the effects of dance movement therapy (DMT) on stress reduction with parents or caregivers of children with ASD. This researcher explored the use of other modalities in studies involving parental and/or caregiver stress. Taking care of one’s self is important but, can be difficult for many people, especially parents and caregivers of children with autism. Movement is our first means of communication and plays an intricate part in our ability to communicate, but many times it is not seen as important (Winther, 2018). Dance movement therapists feel differently. They know that DMT uses movement as a means of expressing the feelings and emotions that are held within the body. DMT can be effective in therapy or as a part of a daily routine. This researcher explored using movement experiences that were self-directed, easily accessible, and minimally time consuming with one parent of a child with ASD, a white female in her early 50’s. Regular participation for one month in the dance/movement intervention reduced the participant’s stress and improved her overall mood.

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