"Programs like Joanne's Autism Movement Therapy offer opportunities for our kids to develop the necessary and fundamental skills that benefit all our kids. Art saved my life!"
- Temple Grandin, PhD
Temple Grandin, PhD, well known author, advocate and Colorado State University professor, tells us that 'repetitive rocking motion that requires a person to continually find and refind their balance stimulates areas of the brain where learning receptors are located.'
"Joanne Lara seamlessly combines artistry with science as she takes the viewer through easy to understand, easy to implement movement exercises and activities for children with special needs. I highly recommend her aut-erobics DVD to any one who works with children on the autism spectrum."
- Elaine Hall, Founder of The Miracle Project (Autism: The Musical), Author: Now I See the Moon: a mother, a son, a miracle
"Realizing that the arts of movement and music are important to all, Joanne elevates this vital component of intervention to new levels. People on the autism spectrum (as well as everyone else) need to move!" -Stephen Shore Ed D, on the autism spectrum, Professor of Special Education, Adelphi University. Internationally known author, consultant, and presenter on issues related to autism
"Joanne Lara has been instrumental in the further enrichment of my skills and knowledge, especially in developing our Autism Certificate at National University. Thus the exploration of ‘Autism’ only benefits from Joanne and her work.” -Kay Dee Caywood, Ph.D., Lead Faculty, Special Education, National University
"Give me the chance to come through.All I ever needed was the music, and the mirror, And the chance to dance..." Cassie, A Chorus Line
Ms Lara is available for workshops, lectures, keynotes and private consultation. For booking and speaking engagements contact:
We now have AMT centers in Los Angeles, Tarzana, San Diego, El Dorado Hills Ca, Miami & Pembroke Pines Florida, Philadelphia, Sellersville, Pottsville & Lansdale PA, Fremont, Defiance, Miton, Norwalk & Bryan Ohio, Chicago, Charleston, AAMP/amt - The Autism and Movement Project in Pana, Illinois, Springfield MO, Brownsville, TX, Calgary & Quebec Canada, and Wales, UK. AMT is currently in the Pennsylvania School District (Sacramento Area), P.A.T.H Academy for Autism in Bryan, Ohio, Herkimer Area Resource Center in Herkimer, NY, The Vista Del Mar School in Los Angeles, The Lighthouse Center in Mumbai, India. Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio and The Center for Child and Family Development in Leawood, KS. New providers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; New Delhi, India, Singapore and Melbourne, Australia.
Joanne Lara, MA Adjunct Faculty National University, Founder AMT
Joanne Lara, a professional dancer turned classroom education specialist turned university professor, has dedicated her life’s work to improving the lives of individuals with autism through movement and music. Her advocacy has led to founding the nonprofit organization Autism Movement Therapy®, the recipient of two Autism Speaks grants, home based in Los Angeles, California. Autism Movement Therapy lectures, certifies, trains, and licenses dancers, educators, parents, and professional service providers across the United States, Canada, India, Malaysia, South America, UK, Europe, Wales, China and Kuwait in the beneficial role that movement and music can play in the speech and language, behavioral, and cognitive domains of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Joanne is a core adjunct professor at National University in LA, California, and helped design the Autism Certificate. She was the Technical Advisor/Autism Consultant for Kiefer Sutherland’s FOX TV show Touch. Lara earned her master’s in special education, Moderate/Severe and Multiple Disabilities, from California State University, Northridge, and a BA in Dance from the University of South Florida. She holds a CCTC California Moderate/Severe Education Specialist K–12 teaching credential and taught in the LAUSD for over ten years, where she worked exclusively with students with autism.
Ms. Lara teaches weekly Autism Movement Therapy classes in Van Nuys, CA, where she has a private ABA behavioral consultation practice, Autism Movement Therapy-AMT. Ms. Lara produced the documentary Generation A: Portraits of Autism and the ARTS with Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore, Ed Asner, Elaine Hall, Susan Sheller, Anshu Batra MD, Wyatt Isaacs, Dani Bowman, Kevin Hosseini, Noah Schneider, Dylan Aragon, Abbey Lutes, Julian Arsi, Tyler Wedeen, and more.
Lara’s nonprofit Autism Movement Therapy, Inc is producing Temple Grandin & Friends: AutismWorks Now, a musically driven event honoring Dr. Grandin to support job opportunities for individuals with autism and related differences in Los Angeles, May 20th at the Club Nokia.
Joanne is a columnist for Autism Asperger’s Digest and wrote the methods book Waking up the Brain! Autism Movement Therapy® Method for Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London.
Autism Movement Therapy, Inc a nonprofit organization, is focused on serving the autism community by supporting autism research (Dr Martha Herbert PhD, TRANSCEND RESEARCH PROGRAM - Mass General Hospital for Children), environmental organizations (The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) & the Environmental Defense Action Fund (EDF) as well as providing community outreach.
Through cognitive re-mapping, Joanne Lara's successful Autism Movement Therapy® is an interhemispheric SENSORY INTEGRATION technique incorporating movement and music in collaboration with Positive Behavior Support (PBS) strategies to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in meeting and achieving their speech and language, social and academic IEP goals
Please consider making a generous donation/gift to Autism Movement Therapy, Inc. Your gift will help bring the joy of music & movement to so many individuals with autism and related disabilities who otherwise would not be able to participate in a formal, structured dance program. In addition, your donation will help fund autism research at one of the leading hospitals in the world, Mass Gen Hospital for Children. Together we can make a difference!
92nd St Y NYC AMT Certification 2014
Dance Star is proud to offer Autism Movement Therapy at our studio. We are the first in Tennessee to offer this wonderful therapy! ~ Cole Freeman, Dance Star Studio, Murfreesboro, TN
Autism Movement Therapy is amazing in addressing sensory, balancing & social issues.
I observed what I should have had available to me in my autism special needs school from
1953-1961. ~ Louise Kavadlo, Autism Advocate/On the autism spectrum
I learned from the best. Joanne Lara you have blessed my life in many ways!! When I heard about Autism Movement Therapy I knew that's what I wanted to do. Since meeting you at Julia Boyd ~Dragonflies, my life has forever been changed. Going to California and seeing you at work, I knew I had to do it. I follow your exact movements, the way you speak down to the expectations of the kids. Because of your teaching and program my kids have improved in school, home, family outings and EVERYDAY LIFE!! Thank you so much!! ~ Erica Frailey -Matthews, A A M P/amt- The Autism and Movement Project, Pana Il
Joanne's passion for helping people on the autism spectrum live full lives is contagious. Through her Autism Movement Therapy program she demonstrates the power that music and dance have to stimulate creativity and social interaction. She is a true advocate and force to help move the community forward. ~ Phillip Hain, National Director, Team Up! Autism Speaks
Joanne Lara knows that the brain needs the body to move. In this DVD she gives the gift of her artful knowledge to children with autism, helping them to fulfill their wholeness and their potential. - Martha R. Herbert, Ph.D., M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Morphometric Analysis/Pediatric Neurology, TRANSCEND Research Program Harvard Medical School
Joanne Lara is a dynamo in all arenas: academic, behavioral, dance, and business with integrity. I've had the pleasure of taking her AUTISM MOVEMENT THERAPY(AMT) certification workshops, and worked alongside her as a co-facilitator in AMT and Expressive Arts Workshops. Her vast academic knowledge in the field of autism inspires and enlightens those who attend her various workshops and lectures. Her professional dance background, creativity and intuition provide a dynamic environment in classes where kids, teens and young adults can benefit and progress while having fun and making friends. Joanne's down-to-earth, no-nonsense, loving approach raises the bar for all ASD individuals to a place where they can realize more of their true and full potential. This is a professional who knows, cares, and gets results. ~ Karen Schaefer Howard, Music Therapist at Founder/Director, Music & Expressive Therapy Associates
Joanne can take the whole and break it down into parts so that parents and professionals can use her invaluable work in the "real world" of disabilities. Joanne is a no-nonsense woman with intuition, expertise, and credentials that are above par... She knows her craft, and can share opportunities to grow cognition, language, sensory integration, self-esteem, and social cognition. Bravo to Joanne! I highly recommend her DVD Aut-erobics, and moreover, recommend Joanne for her simple compassion. ~ Keri Bowers, co-founder at The ART of AUTISM, Owner, Normal Films
Joanne Lara is a true expert in the field of autism. She has a remarkable knowledge, education and experience base from which she has developed and created Autism Movement Therapy as a new conceptual practice. This practice can assist children with autism by using movement to create both habit and brain chemistry changes. These important changes can assist children with help in reaching various milestones in their learning. I attended a workshop with her in Chicago, Illinois in March 2010 where I was able to see her fully engage young autistic students. Her rapport and professionalism with parents is also highly noteworthy. I highly recommend both Joanne Lara and Autism Movement Therapy. ~ Bob Hudson MA, MEd, LSW, Interim STEM Instructor at Cleveland Metropolitan School District
In the field of Therapeutic Recreation (TR) field, we are always looking for fun and innovative ways to help our participants and patrons reach their potential. I was thrilled when Joanne agreed to come to our Illinois Parks and Recreation Conference. It didn’t matter what kind of background attendees had, dancer, TR Coordinator or parent; everyone took something away from Joanne’s sessions. - Breane Cory, CTRSRecreation Coordinator, Therapeutic RecreationRockford Park District
We love the program! One little boy started the program at the end of June, he never spoke a word and would stand in the corner. Last class he actually sat and did circle time and said his name. His mom was in tears, she had only heard him say mom and dad. I can not thank Joanne enough for creating such a fantastic program. The kids love the class and I love seeing them improve every class! - Erica Matthews, Director The Autism & Movement Project-AMT Pana,Il
Joanne is a terrific personality. She is kind hearted and sweet like 'gummy bears' . She has a clear, scientific and systematic approach of using music and movement with children. We had a terrific workshop and on day 1 we had children to work with Joanne. It was a treat to watch Joanne and children participating, enjoying and responding in their first class of AMT itself. I think it was MAGIC of Joanne and AMT. - Malavika Samnani, Consultant & Head, SOCH, Gurgaon (India)
I think every family in the autism community should check out this program. In just one weeks time my grandson has done a complete 360 with his behaviors. I have also seen changes for the better in both receptive and expressive language areas, socialization and ability to transition without becoming over stimulated. Thank you Joanne!!!! - Cheryl Miller(Grandmother), Top Notch Cheer Gym, Fremont, Ohio
Autism Movement Therapy is a solid method we have chosen to integrate into our DRAGONFLIES program. We have seen firsthand the reorganizing of the brain. The students are opening up their minds to self expression, behaviors are decreasing and the non-verbal children are increasing in speech and language skills. Thank you Joanne, for creating a method that works. - Julia Boyd, Jacob’s MOM, Director of DRAGONFLIES Special Needs Program -Mattoon/Charleston Illinois
Julia Boyd was gracious enough to share her time and talents in my classroom last year (2010-2011). I was a teacher at the Neil Armstrong Program. My class consisted of students with severe learning issues—most testing in the moderately impaired range. Her son Jacob was a student in my class. He has Autism and we (Mom, school staff, EIU Speech, and many others) have been working to help Jacob improve his communication skills. His improvement had been steady but in small increments. I noticed marked improvements in Jacob’s eye contact and responses after Julia began exploring Autism Movement Therapylast year. All of the students in my class responded positively. It was clear that they were highly engaged and so were the staff. The listening skills of all the students showed improvement.Jacob’s responses to questions continued to increase. I believe that this therapy is a great tool that can show good results. - Sue Miller Giacomini, Special Ed. Teacher, Mattoon, Illinois
Joanne's DVD clearly encourages movement on both sides of the body, alone and together, which is a brain exercise in mainstreaming the two hemispheres. This type of exercise, done at the child's own pace in their natural and undistracting environ, will allow them to optimize the benefits of movement therapy. The particular process of amt is interesting and certainly deserves its place in the home learning environment for individuals with ASD . - Sharon Hensel – Cohen M.S., C.C.C. (Licensed Speech/ Language Pathologist)
Wow, I was taken aback by Joanne’s class. It was great and I loved it, loved it, loved it. They are already using the program in the dance room here at Gail W. Brown Center. It has helped bring folks out of their shell who are not only Autistic but have other diagnosis as well. Thank you for an enlightening 2 days. - Kathy Berner, COTA Herkimer, NY
Such an Awesome training! We implemented it the following day and the consumers (adults) loved it! Our folks with Autism participated in the morning and were very vocal throughout the rest of the day! “Autism Movement was a lot of fun! Looking forward to continuing to see progress with our folks participation. Very beneficial training! Thanks! They Love it!
Thought that the workshop was fantastic. I was interesting to see how music effects people on different levels and that it will be greatly effective with all disabilities. The workshop showed us how to adapt all strategies to fit anyone’s disability not just those with Autism . The consumers that we have tried the program with have loved it, some of them have asked to have a copy of the CD so they can listen to it at home. Joanne was wonderful, very energetic and made everyone feel at ease. Thanks again. -Sheri Kominick, COTA, Herkimer, NY
I found the workshop to be very interesting and educational. It was fascinating to learn about the brain and how it functions within someone diagnosed with Autism. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet Joanne and to learn from her. Her dedication to helping individuals with Autism is amazing. I had a blast learning the movements. I had the opportunity to watch some consumers doing AMT at the Gail Brown center in the dance room. Almost every individual was up and moving and seemed to truly enjoy the exercises. I believe that the skills I learned through Joanne’s workshop will benefit me throughout my career. -Rachel Atwater, Day Service Advocate, QMRP, Herkimer, NY
The movement Therapy is so simple to do & yet it clearly is very productive and necessary for development. If we had lots of fun learning and attending this 2 day training and I can’t imagine others not enjoying themselves as well. It wasn’t like we were working! - Teri Smith, Day Service Advocate, QMRP, Herkimer, NY
Joanne Lara, Autism Movement Therapy founder, is Technical Advisor/Consultant on Kiefer Sutherland's new FOX TV show 'Touch.' Sutherland plays the father of a 10 year old non-verbal boy with special needs who can see into the future. Danny Glover & Gugu Mbatha-Raw also star along with David Mazouz. Fox TV.
Autism Movement Therapy (AMT) provides children with Autism a world of fun and exciting sensory/motor experiences. Importantly, AMT may preclude the development of behavior challenges, often associated with Autism, and/or may minimize the frequency and intensity of such behavior. AMT as a relaxation technique holds the promise of assisting children with Autism with emotional regulation -- while they are engaged in a typical, age-appropriate and social activity -- dance!! - Richard A. Mesaros, Ph.D. Professor - FERP Department of Special Education, Michael D. Eisner College of Education, CSU Northridge
"Joanne Lara knows that the brain needs the body to move. In this DVD she gives the gift of her artful knowledge to children with autism, helping them to fulfill their wholeness and their potential." - Martha R. Herbert, Ph.D., M.D. Harvard Medical School - Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Morphometric Analysis/Pediatric Neurology, TRANSCEND Research Program
My husband and I were at your 2:30 session this past Sat. How interesting, the whole concept of remapping the brain. We would give anything to help our special needs boys, 8 and 10. The 10 year old has been struggling with the affects of Autism and how it impacts his education. A very sad story of a boy struggling. You give us hope that we can be an active part in helping him. If we could help him remap his brain to the degree of making the difference in impovemnt of learning. What a miracle. You are wonderful, you made it simple to get for someone who is so beside herself at times with her son's disadvantages. You made it fun. I may have to sit at times, but we will be active fans in this movement therapy. You are one of our Angels guiding us. God Bless you. It was a blessing to meet you, talk to you and experience your program. - Sincerely, Peggy
Joanne, I just want to say a huge heartfelt "thank you" as a mom of an autistic child, for all you've done to help individuals and their families affected with autism throughout the years. You are truly a wonderful and special lady and I wish there were more people in this world like you:) -Roseann Barnardin, Trabuco Canyon, Ca
" I am truly grateful because she has improved greatly since being diagnosed at the age of 2. Along the way, a variety of autism therapies have been tried... Simply put, my daughter loves this program. I do too."