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Photo by Scott Swigart

“My child can communicate, share feelings, and socialize.” (Child Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Autism Awareness month allows me to reflect on all the incredible children I have met within my clinical practice.

Sara came to session speaking about her interests for horses and her weekend with her family. She sat across from me and moved her legs in a trotting fashion as if embodying the horses walk. She would frequently describe her passions with her whole body, moving in patterns and qualities she observed.

But what was her preference of moving? How did she interact in her world as Sara?

Today, she and I wanted to explore her preferences verses her movements that mirrored her “horses.” We used a prop called a “body sock,” a spandex type material that stretches, feels incredibly soft and what she described as “a safe place to feel not judged or misunderstood.” She started by breathing and then following my directions to move with various qualities.

She realized within this session that she felt more comfortable moving with lightness – she felt like she was graceful and would be perceived as more friendly than if she was forceful and what might appear like “aggression.” She had immediate interpretations of how people would percieve her because of her diagnosis. How just these basic ways of moving and having a diagnosis of Autism created a stereotype and potentially made others judge her.

I offered her a way to join with me to create movement with strength that wasn’t aggessive but rather assertive and strong. That she could use a full range of movements and in our space together feel safe, accepted and seen as what she described as “feeling normal and free.”

The use of movement provided insight into Sara’s emotional experiences with others; how she feels judged, her preferences, and desires to feel accepted. The movement acts as a parallel process to real life challenges and an outlet for resolution and acceptance.

Do you know of a child who could use support? Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to help them connect to their perferences, gain insight and feel supported. Email me at therapy@drloribaudino.com or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.

Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.

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