Music, dance and foreign languages improve memory, judgement skills for students with autism

LAKE WORTH, Fla - "Are we ready, are we ready," asks Radita Casapu as she races through the classroom at the Palm Beach School for Autism.

"Ladies and gentleman welcome to the show," says one student as he picks up the microphone.

This is a class in the performing arts, which is becoming a growing part of therapy for students with autism.

"It's amazing what they can do, it's amazing," said Casapu.

Researchers have found  music instruction helps those with autism build memory and judgment skills.

"It's hard for them to be self-controlled. We worked on that ,and they did it," she said.

Those with autism can be withdrawn. But as Casapu points out with one of the students, these types of classes can change that.

She points to one student who is happily singing into the microphone.

"Last year he didn't want to come on the stage.  Look at him he's jazzing," she said.

Another lesson comes with foreign languages.

"Comment allez-vous. vous," one student asks another.

"Je'm appel Aldon," he replies.

"Bravo," the first student responds.

Trying other languages can open them up to abstract thinking, which does not come natural to those with autism.

"Learning a foreign language is an exercise, so their brain is working and their speech is working," said Casapu.

As part of a performing group the students learn social skills,  and as their expressions show,  they gain self-confidence.

"It's amazing I tell you the truth it's absolutely amazing," said Casapu

"Thank you everyone, and good night," says a student as the show comes to an end.

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