The effect of a Greek traditional dance programme on the social skills of children with autism spectrum disorder
It is well know that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have deficits in their social skills. However, movement programmes have been found to enhance their social development. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of a Greek traditional dance (GTD) programme on the social skills of children with ASD. Eight 6-14-year-old children with ASD participated in the study and were randomly classified into the control group (CG), who took part only in the physical education lessons, and the experimental group (EG), who apart from physical education participated in an 8-week TGD programme of two sessions/week. Children’s social skills were assessed with the Educational Evaluation Tool for children with autism in the field of Social Skills (Apteslis et al., 2012) that was administered to participants’ teachers. Due to both the small sample size and the great heterogeneity of children with ASD, the participants were faced as eight case studies classified into two groups (EG; CG). According to the results, children of the EG presented higher improvement in social skills compared to those of the CG. The above findings are encouraging; however, further research with a larger sample size and a GTD programme of longer duration is necessary if sound conclusions are to be drawn.