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Ellen and Dr. Priscilla Feir, Educational Director

2020 - Outline for KoganSteps Workshops

Functional Movement – A New Direction in the Treatment of Autism and Other Neurological Dysfunction

  • Why researchers now call for a body-oriented approach

  • Engage the brain via the body

  • Understand and teach functional movement and motor control

  • Use the 3 basic elements of all physical activity (Space, Time, Energy)

  • To improve motor movement, social skills, attention and language                           

Current Research on Movement, Socialization and the Autistic Child 


  • How movement affects “Theory of Mind”  

  • Movement and the development of empathy

  • The concept of “universality” - the power of moving together


Understanding Movement as the Precursor for Language Development

  • Movement and communication

  • Action plus sound

  • Gesture and facial expression

  • Postural alignment

  • Motor behavior and speech Production


The Link Between the Mirror Neuron System, Movement, Imitation and Functional Behavior

  • Understanding the biology of autism

  • Engaging the Mirror Neuron System

  • See an action, do an action, speak an action

  • Modeling, music, movement

  • Singing, imitation and motor activity


Evaluation – The Movement Evaluation Continuum - A New Theoretical Framework to Assess a Child’s Ability to Move Functionally

  • Identify movement deficits

  • Create activities to address those deficits

  • Integrate new knowledge into your current treatment plan


Creative Strategies that put Movement Theory into Practice

  • Rhythmic Cueing – the link between music and motor behavior

  • Imitation/modeling

  • Repetition, Routines, Predictability

  • Anticipation/Inhibition

  • Body Image

  • Authentic movement

    • Visuals and Props

    • Attention and Co-contraction

    • Singing, Sound, and Music Making

    • Using Both Sides of the Brain


Lab Work -  Experience Eight Movement Studies to teach and inspire

  • The Tire Dance

  • The Plate Dance

  • The Card Dance

  • The Weight Dance

  • The Mountain

  • The Mozart

  • The Shape Dance

  • The Scarf Dance


  • Clarify and integrate movement vocabulary 

  • Collaborate with peers and create your own movement studies

Areas of Caution

  • Touch policies in the school

  • Respecting the child’s terms

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