Dance class helps kids with autism gain self-confidence - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Dance class helps kids with autism gain self-confidence

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They're just like everyone else on the dance floor. That's what one local dance studio says about its students with autism. 

At Louisville Dance Alliance, a few moves are helping kids gain some major confidence.

Josh Ford leads the class on Wednesday afternoons. His students, a group of middle and high school students, have autism. 

Autism affects their social skills. But through dance, they're learning more about life.

"It's just more of a fun experience, instead of being in a classroom sitting at a desk," said 7th grader Sam McCoy.

Studies show dancing can help individuals with autism make friends, improve their behavior and also their motor skills.

"I feel pretty awesome now. I can keep my balance," said sophomore Christopher Wiehebrink.

Dancing has helped Sierra Cross take steps to self-confidence.

"I didn't like doing it in front of people. I got nervous," Cross explained. "Now I've got the confidence to dance in front of people."

"It's alright to get nervous," Ford told the class. "We face it head on. We work through it, and we're better when we come on the other side."

"You have all improved as dancers since you've started," Ford said, giving his students high-fives. "But I don't do that, you guys do. I can give you moves, but I can't make you dance. You all are in here working hard, taking notes, and applying corrections."

But it's more than just the moves. It's knowing it's okay to be yourself.

"It's been phenomenal to watch and be a part of," Ford said.

These kids all go to the Kentucky Autism Training Center. Instructors tell us they've noticed a major difference in students' attitudes and motor skills since starting the class.

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