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make your day dance

Structure: students with Autism

March 30th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Tags: ··

Still thinking of how I got started teaching dance to my students with Autism…

I was asked how to structure a class or lesson. But for the first year-and-a-half, the structure of my classes for the autistic students was totally different from my other lessons for kindergarten through 5th graders. I mostly alternated structured activities with unstructured activities — we’d do something that involved lots of modeling & visuals & verbals on my part and then we’d do something with very little direction. Exercises… a pause dance with scarves (pauses didn’t necessarily happen)… an obstacle course where they take turns… free time with hula hoops.

Nowadays I’m able to plan a lesson that teaches a particular element of movement (such as tempo, or moving in different directions, or axial vs. locomotor movement).  I use activities my students are already familiar with but vary the emphasis.

As I plan successive classes, I try to use a lot of repetition, with a new twist or a new activity each time. Repetition is their friend, and “something new” fascinates them!

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