The implementation of “Movement and Dance” at Sierra Foothills Academy is to provide students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental and intellectual disabilities an opportunity to engage in a typical social activity. Students have opportunity to practice and strengthen gross motor skills and axial movement (movement centered around the spine). Dance and movement class focuses on movement patterns, vocalizations, development of social interactions, and responding to others.

Each dance session begins with a short “warm-up” that includes stretching and gentle movement of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, waist, legs and feet. This is the time when we encourage the student to relax and become accustomed to the music. Upon the completion of the warm-up is the movement/dance segment of the class. This is the time for group interaction and following directions. Also, students have the opportunity to demonstrate a variety of combinations of locomotor skills (e.g., walk and run, gallop and jump, hop and skip, slide and roll), and axial movement (turn and stretch, bend and twist, etc). The level of complexity depends on the physical capability of the student. Initially, it may be difficult for a student to master the technicality of a routine. Over time, with persistence and patience the student learns that he or she can conquer a difficult task which is a key life skill for future success.