Movement Therapy Programme with Children with Mild Learning Difficulties in Primary Schools in Saudi Arabia: links between motion and emotion

Abdulazeem Alotaibi, Vicky Karkou, Marietta Van Der Linden, Lindsey Irvine

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Movement therapy, as a body-mind intervention, aims to enable emotional and social changes in children and adults. It is built on the premise that physical and behavioural changes will also facilitate psychological changes and that ultimately further integration is achieved which is the basis of one’s wellbeing. However, there is limited empirical research evidence that explores whether movement therapy does indeed enable the development and integration of physical and emotional/social skills. The existence of co-morbid difficulties in conjunction with cognitive delays in children with learning difficulties heighten the need to investigate whether movement therapy can indeed enable physical and emotional integration as relevant literature suggests. This chapter reports on findings associated with the hypothesis that this intervention will enable further integration (and thus relationship) between emotional wellbeing and perceptual-motor ability of children with mild learning difficulties in primary schools in Saudi Arabia. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in Saudi Arabia with a sample of sixty (N=60) primary school male pupils aged between 6-9 years. The sample was identified as having mild learning disabilities and was randomly allocated; with equal number of participants, to a movement therapy (8 weeks of three sessions a week) intervention group and a control group that engaged in the same number of regular Physical Education sessions. The Goodman SDQ and the Purdue Motor Survey were used to measure outcomes of wellbeing and perceptual-motor ability respectively. The Spearman’s correlation coefficient test indicated a stronger relationships between the emotional wellbeing and perceptual-motor ability after the intervention in the movement therapy group. Although findings from this study need to be treated with caution due to the small sample, they do suggest that group movement therapy may be a useful intervention in enabling integration between observed emotion/social and physical/behavioural markers in children with mild learning difficulties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing
    EditorsVicky Karkou, Sue Oliver, Sophia Lycouris
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780199949298
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


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