Lawrence County Tax Board issues $10,000 to develop a therapeutic dance program

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 1:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) -A new therapy program focused on music is offered in Monet.

Music therapy and Creative Arts Inc. was issued $10,000 by the Lawrence County Tax Board to develop a therapeutic program for those with developmental disabilities.

Kaiti Rutledge, a Music Therapist in Monett, works with kids and adults with disabilities, but she is adding “dance teacher” to her resume.

“My mom put me in ballet when I was five,” said Rutledge. “And ever since then I have taken every class you can imagine. I’ve done ‘cha cha’ the ‘foxtrot’, I did color guard all throughout high school. I’ve just done a little bit of everything.”

Rutledge is taking that training and helping others develop social and cognitive skills through dance.

“Dance is amazing,” said Rutledge. “For one thing, it’s social. So we get to have a good time we get to learn something and then your friend next us learning the same thing. Gross motor skills, so getting our arms and legs moving, maybe even ways that we didn’t even know we could. And then cognitively, it’s so important to keep stretching our brain all throughout our lives. So having to memorize those dance steps, we turn to different walls, that makes your brain have to stretch even further. So cognitively, socially and physically all great benefits of dance.”

Some of Rutledge’s clients are already seeing results from the program.

“She does have a sort of cerebral palsy and because of that, she is kind of fall risk. So when she gets to go and dance and move, it helps her with her balance While she’s walking and not be as high of a fall risk which is amazing,” said Caregiver Sara Hure.

While clients are working on coordination and balance, they are also having tons of fun. They say the best part is hanging out with friends.

“By getting out and trying to exercise and trying to meet new people, new friends.” said client Veronica Gilliam.

“This has been a dream come true for me I have loved to dance since I was little so to get to share that with some of my favorite people and see them master these dances has been amazing,” said Rutledge

There are four different therapeutic dance groups serving 20 clients. Dance therapy is only offered in Lawrence County, but executives say they hope to expand the program into Barry, Stone, and Taney counties soon.

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