Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2020

Academic Department

Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor(s)

Judy Ericksen


Dance is an art, sport, and passion able to be enjoyed and benefited by all ages. The benefits include increased motor, cognitive, emotional, and social skills, and more (Demers, Thomas, Wittich, McKinley, 2015). This study gathered initial research regarding the effects of dance on children with disabilities as well as children of typical development and the aging population. The researcher conducted interviewed teachers of adaptive dance programs regarding their perspectives on the benefits, challenges, goals, and the impact of an occupational therapy career on teaching, as applicable. Teachers were interviewed via video or phone call and audio transcriptions were used to analyze data through extracting themes for each question. The study aligned with previous research in establishing benefits such as confidence, motor skills, and cognitive skills such as memory and sequencing. Challenges found included acquiring enough students and finances as well as optimizing participation from a diverse range of students. The goals ranged from more general ones about having fun and building confidence, to more specifically working on physical and social skills. Only one participant was also an occupational therapist and spoke to the unconscious integration of her expertise influencing her teaching.


Senior thesis.