Through the Kinesthetic Lens : Observation of Social Attunement in Autism Spectrum Disorders
This paper will present a movement-informed perspective to social attunement in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). BACKGROUND: Dance movement therapy (DMT) is a psychotherapeutic intervention that is used with participants with ASD in various settings. Regular clinical outcome monitoring in an outpatient setting in the Netherlands had shown positive effects on social attunement capacities in young people with ASD. However, a systematic study of the development of social attunement movement behaviors of participants with ASD throughout a DMT intervention was not yet available. METHODS: A series of individual cases of DMT with young people with ASD (mean age 12.2 years.) were analyzed for changes in interpersonal movement behaviors employing video-based retrospective observation. RESULTS: The findings were summarized in an observation scale for interpersonal movement behaviors. This scale was then tested for its applicability for the monitoring of social attunement behaviors throughout therapy. DISCUSSION: A movement-informed perspective may be helpful to inventory changes in social attunement behaviors in participants with ASD. The relevance of a movement-informed perspective for the concept of social attunement in ASD will be discussed.