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Sensory Processing Disorder and the Benefits of Dance Classes

Dance Lesson

The movements, rhythms, and exercises performed in children's dance classes are a great way for a child to stay in shape - and dancing can help treat a variety of disorders or issues a child may deal with.

One of these disorders is Sensory Processing Disorder. Also known as SPD, a child with the disorder may have trouble processing different sensory aspects. The impacts of this disorder may include various reactions to bright lights, touch, and sound.

Along with therapy, various activities help with the treatment of SPD. As you consider dance classes for your child, use this guide to learn about the multiple benefits associated with dance classes and how they have a positive impact on the effects of SPD. Of course, dancing alone may not help treat SPD symptoms, but pairing dance with professional treatment may help your child.

Repetitive Movements

One of the main issues people with SPD suffer from is proper coordination. Children with SPD are known to trip, fall, or stumble a lot and seemingly out of nowhere. If this is the case for your child, then the repetitive movements in a dance class may help them find rhythm and coordination.

For example, a basic four-step dance may be practiced over and over again until a child builds up muscle memory. The muscle memory helps the body go naturally to these movements while improving their coordination at the same time. While going to treatment, the child's coordination will only improve over time - as will the child's dance skills.

Limb Awareness

A similar issue associated with SPD is proper limb awareness. A child may not be aware when their arm swings wildly through the air or how hard they kick at something. Gaining some type of limb awareness in dance classes will transition and crossover into everyday life.

Dance training can focus on certain limbs. A child will learn how to control their arms better, how they can move their legs to different angles, and how subtle moves can make a big difference on the dance floor and in daily life.

Some dances may focus specifically on leg movements while others focus on arms. Over time, a child will be able to control all of their limbs and reduce the number of trips and falls that occur on a daily basis. The limb movements and control may also help with both fine motor skills and gross motor skills in the child.

Dance Stages & Lights

Part of the treatment for SPD is sensory integration, which finds a fun way to introduce stimuli so that the child can practice responding while still playing and having fun. One aspect of SPD is a sensitivity to bright lights; however, bright lights and flashing lights are all a normal part of the dance stage.

As the child has fun dancing and focuses on their dance moves, they'll be able to ignore the lights and get used to the presence of the lights over time. Exposure to the lights during dance class will allow the child to concentrate on the changes and sensitivities they deal with while still having fun. As the SPD improves, the child will get used to other common light changes.

Dance Costumes

Another impact SPD has on children is with various clothes or fabrics. Certain clothes may feel uncomfortable and children may not like the feel of specific fabrics.

While they're a part of a dance team, a child may be more willing to wear certain clothes and outfits if they are wearing the same things as others. The excitement of a show or being part of a group may help a child get used to the clothes and block out some of the issues that are associated with wearing them. Hopefully, as the child grows, wearing costumes will only get more comfortable.

Another benefit of the dance class is that it will expose them to all types of fabrics and designs not typically seen in everyday clothing, which may help the child find fabric they're comfortable in.

For a full list of our available dance classes, contact us at The Dance Refinery. We have a wide range of classes available for all ages.