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The Times
  • Herkimer ARC hosts first Autism Movement Therapy workshop

  • The Herkimer Area Resource Center hosted its first Autism Movement Therapy workshop last week.

    Fifty participants from throughout the state attended the two-day workshop to learn and become certified instructors of Autism Movement Therapy.

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  • The Herkimer Area Resource Center hosted its first Autism Movement Therapy workshop last week.
    Fifty participants from throughout the state attended the two-day workshop to learn and become certified instructors of Autism Movement Therapy.
    HARC is the only licensed provider in the eastern U.S. to train and certify parents, caregivers and professionals in Autism Movement Therapy.
    “Autism therapy utilizes dance and music to assist individuals on the autism disorders spectrum to develop skills and strategies to connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain to work together,” said Lisa Gifford, HARC certified Autism Movement Therapy instructor. “Through dance, rhythm, repetition, sequence and pattern individuals with autism will be better able to connect with desired behaviors such as on-task activity, social speech skills and language skills.”
    Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center and Pinefield CTRS recreational therapist Shevan Abbot said she attended the workshop to become certified and train other recreational therapists.
    “The program is a great way to teach children with developmental disabilities how to listen and work together by learning repetition,” said Abbot.
    “Another great thing about the program is children today don’t like to exercise and Autism Movement Therapy feels more like fun than an exercise so it’s a great way to get up and moving,” she added.
    Although the workshop was a first, Autism Movement Therapy classes meet at the HARC every Saturday for children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism.
    HARC Autism Movement Therapy instructor Kaylan Combs said she became certified last year at Herkimer County Community College and since then she has been teaching classes every Saturday.
    “I took what I learned and brought it back to the HARC and everyone loved it. People really enjoy dancing and moving,” she said.
    The HARC plans to host another Autism Movement Therapy workshop in June.

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