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Guest happycc

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Guest happycc

what other dance classes do your son take?



My son has taken tap, jazz, ballet and gymnastics. He has also taken an acro class. He takes hip hop in the summer as well.

Currently he has 2 jazz class(one of them he was invited in because they wanted a boy perhaps-they aren't charging me for that class.They are doing a dance to Chicago). Is it important that a beginner should take all of these classes to round them off? The lessons can really add up financially and next year I was thinking of dropping tap and just continuing with the rest. But would he fall behind and also I heard tap is perfect for autistic/asperger children because it forces them to join a preestablish rhythm. He loves all of his classes and he doesn;t like one more than the others.

I do know that even if he takes jazz and tap he really should take ballet because it is the fundamental of dance. At least that is what the dance school says. They even want him to continue with ballet in the summer.

What do the rest of your do for summer?



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OK, we're talking about a 10-year-old here. Sounds like an awful lot of different disciplines for him to be in right now. I'd lose the hip-hop, and ordinarily I would say that you would be best off to just specialize in ballet, but I think that you're right about the autism/Asperger's protocol. Keep the tap, too.

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Guest prism
Is it important that a beginner should take all of these classes to round them off? The lessons can really add up financially and next year I was thinking of dropping tap and just continuing with the rest. But would he fall behind ?

Carolyn, I think this depends on many variables.... like what are the child's future goals (if they have one and of course is subject to change at any time) ? Do they want to become a professional dancer? If so, ballet or MTV ? Is the school a pre-professional ballet school? Do they have a pre-professional or professional ballet company connected with the school? or are they a competition studio? I think a competition studio is going to expect kids to be more well-rounded in multiple disciplines, while a ballet school may likely discourage other disciplines such as Jazz or Modern until kids get a little older and have mastered basic Ballet technique first. The serious ballet student might have 5-6 various types of ballet classes per week while the multi-disciplined might also have that many classes a week but in all different dance disciplines. So then you also need to look at what your child can handle for a schedule load, physically and mentally, so they don't burn out or become susceptible to injury. Each kid is so different and they also change so quickly that due to age and other factors present in their lives at any given time, might also influence a change in how much dance is right for them and how much is too much.

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Prism, take a look at some of Carolyn's other posts and note that we've also got the variable of a special-needs student with a vacillating diagnosis. That has to be figured into making recommendations on a curriculum progress.

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Guest prism

Thanks Mel,

I saw that you had already addressed that factor in the post before me so guilty of over-generalizing that important consideration in my last statement under schedule load and "other factors present in their lives". Then again, I also wrote that as the catch all to ANY other factors that should be considered such as medical issues, academic load, involvement in other extra activities, etc. Not good to assume anyone would know what I was thinking without being more specific. But once you throw all these other considerations into the mix then it becomes very specific to the individual?? Some kids might be totally overwhelmed with just one or two classes while others might seem to not be able to get enough with six?

And then not only how many but which ones best suit the individual based on all these factors in the mix, especially if there are special circumstances involved.


Something I didn't think of earlier..... I once asked my son (5yo at the time) "If you could only take one dance class, what would it be?" He is a very boisterous, high-energy, perpetual motion kid - to the extreme. I natually expected him to say Tap or Jazz for the fast pace and constant movement. Imagine my surprise when he said "Ballet!" When asked why, he said "Because it makes feel good inside. It helps me think clearer. I feel like I have more control of my body and my brain." I thought this was very interesting.


Now it sounds like research has shown Tap to have specific benefits to kids on the autistic spectrum and/or other issues. But now I am curious, does this match the perception of the child as well? Carolyn, have you ever gotten any similiar feedback from your son? Is Tap his favorite? If so, is it for the reasons you and the medical experts would expect? Or is another discipline his favorite and why?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest happycc

Prism: Good questions... I don't know....

My son struggles with general academics..I mean for years we have been working on what is 2-1=..apparently dance is his reprieve from his struggles with academics and other things.

A few years ago I would not say that dance was his favorite thing.


Now he likes it because he says it is fun and he is "good" at it now. He loves his teachers and he has friends there. He is actually "popular" at the dance studio. He also likes performing...my son has a tendency to live in a different world. There is a fine line between reality and fantasy for him. As a result being on stage is awesome for him. He literally shines and feels good.


The place he goes to is not a ballet school solely. It has various disciplines. In fact when the kids are younger the classes all they offer are combo classes.


Neither he nor I have specific goals or dreams for him in terms of his future in dance.


I just want him to be out of jail and able to support himself and content with his life. That is my goal for him. I know that is a pitiful goal but literally that is where we are right now.


My son has incredible rages and obsessions. That can be extremely dangerous and debilitating. When he was younger the professionals wanted him in a full time institution. I opted out of that option for him.


He has done incredibly well without being in a full institution. Not my back though----I have to restrain him more than a couple of times that lasted 3 hours at a time.


If my son can make something out of the dance thing-more power to him. Even if he doesn't go further with dance as an adult at least he will learn committment and discipline as well as working with others to reach a goal. He will have learned communication skills as well as the ability to present himself well. If he gets stuck or upset perhaps he will have dance to fall back on to and dance his anger away. He will learn that everything takes hard work and complaining about it isn't going to take it away.


I am still trying to help find him. I want to expose him to various things in life so that he can see life is full of choices and options and that changes/variety are good. I don;t want him to fear what life offers but to see the beauty and excitement of it all. I want him to wake up wanting to discover more of this world he lives in rather than wrap himself in a cocoon and never connect.


The only way I know is to keep exposing him to different things -different varieties of dance rather than letting him get stuck into one thing.


My son has been on the swim team(the chlorine made his tics return with a vengeance for some reason), horsebackriding(hippotherapy), martial arts (scared him to death). But nothing allows him to express himself more than dance.

We have tried acting and singing...but my son has a monotone voice. Not very expressive. Plus he stutters a bit and it affects the rhythm of his singing. He blocks midway in a verse. He is also in piano-major struggles in that too. But it is good for bilateral coordination and finger strength. Since they say he has left hemiparesis I thought it would be good for him. Reading the notes has been hard-in fact it isn't happening but he can hear the notes and play it on the piano. We are working on note reading but he first has to be more fluent in reading words first.




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Guest prism
A few years ago I would not say that dance was his favorite thing.

But out of the types of dance he currently does now, which is his favorite?


I just want him to be out of jail and able to support himself and content with his life. That is my goal for him. I know that is a pitiful goal but literally that is where we are right now.


I don't think that's a pitiful goal at all! I think being content can mean the difference between life and existance. A pitiful goal, IMHO, would be one that leads a person to settle for existance and lacks any contentment.


Your son sounds like an incredible person with an incredible Mom. :D

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Guest BalletAuthor

I'm with you all the way, Prism!


I just want him to be out of jail and able to support himself and content with his life. That is my goal for him. I know that is a pitiful goal but literally that is where we are right now.


This is NOT a pitiful goal, it is what everyone wants for their children!


I think it takes a lot of courage for you to be able to talk honestly about your feelings regarding your son's limitations and you are not only entitled to a huge :flowers:, but also lots of :thumbsup::jump: and :wub:


Most of all, he is soooooooooooooooooooooo lucky to have you in his corner. Even if he is never able to truly understand what a great opportunity and how much love you have given him, each and every person on this board is absolutely CERTAIN of it!


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  • 2 months later...
Guest happycc

Thank you everyone for your support.


My son's pediatrician just met with him this year. He didn't see him last year as he was being followed by a therapist, special ed-resource and speech therapist , and a psychiatrist. So it was two years ago that he last saw him and he was amazed with his progress.

In fact he told me at the end of the appt that when he heard it was my son that was coming in, he told the nurse to give him the smallest exam room and take everything out because my son is really distractable etc. Obviously he doesn't need that anymore and was able to make eye contact with the pediatrician and have a normal conversation with him. He did make some repetitive movements and a couple of odd ball comments but in general he did just fine. The doctor spent nearly 3 hours with us.


Anyways he had my son diagnosed with developmental delay and he has now officially bumped my son's diagnosis to high functioning autism/asperger's. I can't tell you how happy I am. He says my son is growing like crazy-My son also has celiac disease so he can't have any gluten products or milk products. He also has problems with any forms of sugars as it leads to thrush in the mouth and yeast infections. So he is on a specific carbohydrate diet that limits his food intake to meats, veggies and fruits , honey and almond flour. No rice, corn or potatoes either. No processed stuff or prepackaged unfortunately. We just found this out about 1.5yrs ago and now my son no longer keels over in pain and spending hours on the toilet. He has grown several inches as well as lost that big bloated belly. He is not nearly as irritable. His behavior and health has improved tremendously since the diet.


I do wonder if this diet is ok for the dietary needs of dancers? My son does take some supplements though and he is on medications as well.


Basically the doctor said that whatever I have been doing keep doing it.

I truly attribute a lot of his healing from dance and diet. Dance is part of his treatment protocal in my eyes. It is a necessity.


I guess if anyone has a child or knows of a child with the diagnosis of autism or high functioning autism, I would be more than happy to share with them what I have done or used. It was a long rough road but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. His pediatrician is still keeping a close eye on things as adolescence is really rough on those with autism. They hit it early and hard apparently.



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Guest happycc


Tap was not his favorite for a long time. The noise was driving him crazy. My son is really sensitive to sound and often had to cover his ears.

The rhythm thing was really hard for him. There was a lot of tears shed over his tap classes and he wanted to quit many times. He has walked out of class many times needing the quiet and peace but I usually make him go back and sit and watch. I know that sounds abusive but it is a lot better than the full time programs they wanted him to do when he was 18 months old.


One place he was sent to was a 9-3 pm program with an hour bus ride to and fro without air conditioning. We lived in Byron, CA and the center was in Pittsburg, CA for those living in the East Bay. The kids were strapped in these hard wood Rifton chairs and when they arrived after the long bus ride, had cymbals and loud music in their faces. These poor babies were screaming and crying. Then they made them go into these separate areas and strapped them back down again and made them stick their hands in finger paint and shaving cream. For nap time they swaddled them up in blankets and held them down. Oh god then the water play came into play and he screamed bloody murder around water. Then he was surrounded by kids who were blind, deaf, and those with cerebral palsy as well all crawling around the floor. He just freaked out. I couldn't bear it. After three days of observing I pulled him out and said I would try and do it my way which was slow and easy. I often wonder how those kids have fared that had to attend that program. I later found out that majority of the kids in the program were foster and low income kids and perhaps that is how they got away with running a program like that. Anyways I moved him to Children's Hospital and drove from Byron, CA to Oakland, CA several times a week.



So anyways I felt at 7yrs old he was ok to try and handle a tap class. In fact I tried when he was three yrs old but he could barely stand up because of his ataxia. But my seven I felt he could handle the loud music better.


Now he doesn't mind it so much. In fact he is pretty good at it. His tap performance was one of the best this year.


His favorite is jazz though because he loves his jazz teacher who never yells.

She is really patient.


My son likes ballet too. The first year he hated because he had this Russian teacher who was very humiliating and pretty much lost her patience in teaching. She just retired this year. But midyear of the first year I took him out and placed him with a different teacher and he loves that teacher. Had her for two years now. She is this lady with this quiet high pitched voice-she kind of have a speech impediment. My son appreciates that because of his own speech disfluencies.


I think one of the reason why he loves dance is that the girls are a lot quieter than boys at a basketball practice or football or something like that. THe dance studio really works on being quiet in class and having low voices in the lobby. Perfect for my son's needs.

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Congrats on the new diagnosis, and all the progress! It's fabulous that you are so tuned in to your son's needs, and so willing to take chances on "alternative therapies" like dance!


My 17-year-old niece is somewhere on the spectrum too -- not sure where, as her family has always been very closed-mouth about it. (We're never sure if they are just being protective, or are in denial, but that's a different story.) She was allowed to give up all OT, PT etc by the time she was 12, because "she didn't like being singled out". This kid has killer turnout, and when I saw her recently I told her she'd make a good dancer. "But I have no grace," she said.


It's true, she doesn't -- but I can't help but wonder how much more she would have if she had been dancing all this time.


By the way, do you know a book called "Quirky Kids" by Perri Klass and Eileen Costello? Good resource for parents of, well, quirky kids -- those who don't fit in socially, who have meltdowns and panic, who are overly sensitive to stimuli (e.g. kids with diagnoses of autism, Asperger's, non-verbal learning disabilities, etc.).

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