Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Nancy Beardall


Often training and learning opportunities ignore the unique needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Helping this population cope with problems that will occur in their lives could increase their feelings of well-being and might decrease feelings of isolation. This workshop used the techniques from Mary Starks Whitehouse’s practice of Authentic Movement (Whitehouse et al., 1999) to support paticipants’ emotional self regulation during training for a new job at an apple orchard. The use of Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) as an intervention for individuals with intellectual disabilities could increase coping skills, which could create greater opportunities for them to increase their overall feeling of well-being. The workshops were conducted at an apple orchard that hires adult individuals with intellectual disabilities using DMT therapy-inspired techniques as a vehicle to explore the theme of change in the workplace. Results suggested that dance and movement techniques helped employees embody change and assisted in self regulation during training. Future research should include more research on DMT as an intervention for adults with intellectual disabilities so therapists can better support them throughout the entirety of their lives.

The author identifies as a straight, cisgender, neurotypical white woman, from a middle class midwestern family background.

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