I Want To Use Dance To Help Children With Special Needs

I Want To Use Dance To Help Children With Special Needs

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) can be one of the best ways to help people with special needs and most people don't even know it exists.


When I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to help people. I felt a connection to the kids with special needs and all I wanted to do was help make their day a little better. Once I even cried in kindergarten because the kid with Down syndrome was sitting next to someone else at lunch. It was that serious to me.

People with special needs are, indeed, special people. Not because they have physical or mental limitations, but because they see the world in a different light than others do. That light could be overwhelming for them to experience every day, but it is beautiful. The way their minds work is beautiful.

As I grew older, I observed my cousin, who has special needs, riding horses as a means of therapy. It helped her mentally, emotionally, and physically. Since I knew how much dance affected me, as an able-bodied person, I pondered how dance could be used to help those with special needs. That's when the seed of my chosen career path was planted in my brain.

I didn't even know what Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) was, or that it even existed. I thought I would be doing something revolutionary, not knowing that other people already knew how dramatic the results can be when dance is used as therapy. At age 15, I found out that DMT was an actual graduate degree, with actual programs and an actual national association.

DMT, as defined by the American Dance Therapy Association, is "the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, and cognitive integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health or well-being." This can be applied to anyone: those with depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical disabilities, the elderly. The list goes on and on.

Now, at age 18, I am a Kinesiology major. I chose this program as a stepping stone to the specific program of DMT, but I already know that's what I want to do. I have watched videos and read stories of children and adults alike who use DMT as a way to strengthen their bodies and emotional, mental, and social skills. I know dance can make a huge impact on someone, as it has made a huge impact on me.

Dance has helped me grow as an individual by allowing me to express myself, relieve stress, and meet new people. It has refined my physical skills, as well as social and emotional well-being. Dance is a passion of mine and I want to spread that to as many people as possible.

Using DMT, I want to create a supportive environment for the kids who need a little extra from those around them. I want to build a connection with them, to understand them, to help them understand themselves. Dance is an excellent way to release pent up stress, anger, or sadness. It can help with muscle limitations and motor skills. I want to teach them how they can use what dance gives them in the outside world.

People with special needs and disabilities are people, too. They might have emotional or mental issues and they might experience this life in a way we can't always understand, but they deserved to be loved and included. Dance is only one of the ways we can make those people see that and know that they are accepted, as well as help them feel comfortable within themselves. That will be my mission for the rest of my life.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps." -JohnGreenBooks.com

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." -Goodreads.com

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew." -Johngreenbooks.com

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read." -Goodreads.com

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!" -Goodreads.com

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. " -Goodreads.com

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another." -Goodreads.com

10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"- Goodreads.com

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)." -kateesiegel.com
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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14 Journal Pages That Will Help You Get Organized, Or At Least Make It Look Like You Are

Helping to keep track of your beautifully messy life.


Journals can provide the perfect canvas for tracking the past, organizing the present, and planning for the future. A notebook, a pen, and a flair for the systematic creative is all you need to get started and get organized. Perfect for the person with a million little to-do lists, an interest in goal-setting and habit tracking, and love for paper and pen lists, journals provide the chance to get your life together in an artistic, therapeutic way. Here are 14 journal pages and layouts that will help you get organized, or help you to at least pretend that you are.

1. This page to map out your entire year


New year, new beginnings.

2. This vertical weekly layout



3. This horizontal one 

journal pages

Keep track of your events in this cute weekly spread.

4. Or this hourly layout


For those really really busy days.

5. "Books to read"


The perfect place to write out your reading list.

6. Also, this list to track your binge watching 

watch list

My watch list will take up at least a couple pages.

7. Monthly mixtape


Use a page to create a playlist for each month.

8. This study log


To hold you accountable.

9. This sleep tracker

sleep log

So I can record the shameful amount of naps I take

10.  This inspiration to track hydration

water tracker

Goal: Drink more water.

11.  This financial spread


For recording your monthly expenses.

12.  This birthday layout


So you never forget a birthday again.

13.  And finally, this page to map out your goals


So you can achieve them all.

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