Dance Movement Therapy Improves Body Image in Young Adults with
Autism Spectrum Disorder. An Empirical Investigation
Koch C Sabine1,2*
1Dance Movement Therapy Department at SRH University of Heidelberg, Germany
2Arts Therapies Research Institute, Alanus University, Alfter, Germany
- Corresponding Author:
- Koch C Sabine
Professor, Head of the Arts Therapies Research Institute
Alanus University, Hochschule Alfter, Germany
E-mail: [email protected]
Received February 02, 2015; Accepted April 01, 2016; Published April 08, 2016
Citation: Sabine KC (2016) Dance Movement Therapy Improves Body Image in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. An Empirical Investigation. Autism Open Access 6:175. doi:10.4172/2165-7890.1000175
Copyright: © 2016 Sabine KC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Body image has rarely been investigated in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Recent advances in embodiment research on nonverbal improvements in ASD have encouraged the investigation of this topic. In the context of the clinical study on autism and schizophrenia in the Heidelberg Node of the TESIS-network, we investigated the effects of dance movement therapy (DMT) on body image in autism with the Body-Image-Sculpture-Test (Körperbildskulpturtest, KST;. We applied the KST as a primarily nonverbal test where the participants’ task was to form a human figure from clay within ten minutes and without visual feedback. Ten young adults with ASD participated in the KST before and after ten weekly sessions of dance movement therapy in a professional rehabilitation and training institution in Southern Germany. Results show a significant improvement at post-test on all five dimensions of the KST: proportions, dimensions, connectedness, completion, and surface quality. Evidence is limited due to the lack of a control group and the small sample size. Yet, the study yields first positive results of body image improvement after DMT in autism, in the form of individual effects (improvement of body image) and inter-subjective aspects (through the interviews) after interactive body-based mirroring exercises and inter-subjective experiences in a group context.