Dr. Lori Baudino Supports Children Through Dance
Courtesy of Dr. Lori Baudino
Introducing Dr. Lori Baudino, how she found her insight, professional career, current practice and support for children and families, as well as the launch of her new book – Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel with Children. When Dr. Lori Baudino was just three years old, she started to dance. Over the years she gained experience in a variety of disciplines including jazz, tap, and ballet. Luckily the D.C. native’s parents were not only supportive of her creativity but were advocates of education and giving back to the community. So it seems logical that Baudino’s ultimate career as a Psychologist and Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist would combine her artistic spirit, thirst for knowledge and desire to give back. In a recent one-on-one interview, Baudino explained how she melded her diverse interests in her formative years and turned them into a profession, saying she was drawn to the field of Dance Movement Therapy through “my own experience of using the body to learn. I grew up dancing my book reports and playing basketball for math.”
She continued, “I was passionate about psychology and truly loved sports, dance and health. I had an opportunity to intern within school programs and take courses in New York even before college where I first learned about therapeutic movement to support children. However, looking back I was always applying philosophies of mind and body within my own emotional experiences, academics and life.” Baudino went on to receive her doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Creative Arts Therapy — Dance/Movement Therapy. She soon became a force in the field, bringing the first Dance Movement Therapy programs to UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. As she recounted, “I was fortunate to learn about the Andréa Rizzo Foundation and with their funding and support I was able to reach out to the two hospitals and implement the programs. It came down to making a decision to bring Dance Movement Therapy to children at the hospitals and then knocking on doors to offer myself, a licensed clinical psychologist, board certified dance movement therapist and Dreás Dream funding source and incredible support.” She built momentum over time, first offering complimentary sessions to start and group kickoff events to show the staff what the program was about. “We started at one hour a month and then proceeded to increase hours,” she recalled. “The Dréas Dream Pediatric Dance/Movement Therapy Program expanded and brought DMT to patients and families for now going on nine years. I truly owe it to the foundation for allowing me to excel in my passion.” Baudino’s focus is on supporting children. “The approach looks at how the body holds and experiences challenges, illness and disease and also triumphs and connection,” she explained. “Then I bring awareness to the child's movements. I use play, movement, the environment, language and the interaction to build coping strategies, support communication and ultimately achieve integration. The therapy allows the children and parents to acknowledge feelings, bring awareness to behaviors and actions and transform these challenges into skills, and meaningful lessons.” Honing in on the specific needs of each youngster, Baudino makes sure the activities suit his or her particular needs. “As the therapist, I look at each child's individual differences and experiences with acceptance and curiosity. Then the sessions are tailored to their ideas and interests. I am following the patient’s cues and modeling ways to expand and integrate their needs.” The participants see a progression of benefits in both their minds and bodies throughout the course of their time with Baudino. “First, the patient feels seen and secure in an environment that supports any and all movements, ideas, emotions and experiences. The patient gains awareness of experiences and needs. They may feel relief of pain or discomfort in the body. They learn how to become flexible in thinking and with expanding range of movement they are able to further problem solve, cope and express feelings. The benefits are so much — to give a child a place of acceptance and understanding — a place to be a child and to feel connected in addition to supporting parents and educators in understanding children both verbally and nonverbally. Baundino’s work has drawn some high profile supporters over the years — the professional dancers from the ABC series Dancing With The Stars. “The Andréa Rizzo Foundation has had a standing relationship with Dancing With The Stars — bringing patients to the show each season and having the stars and dancers come to support the Dréas Dream Dance/Movement Therapy program at the hospital by joining my sessions with the children. They have consistently volunteered their time to join a group session and then visit bedside patients for one on one DMT or interactions.” Having the reality TV stars supporting the children reaps numerous benefits. According to Baundino, “The patients enjoy having visitors at the hospital. This provides an atmosphere of fun, socializing, playfulness and an opportunity to feel special. The children also get to share in these experiences with their parents, siblings and other patient peers. Having the pros at the hospital further supports the importance of movement and dance and all the benefits for the children. But the ballroom dancers also get something out of the experience. “The pros have expressed enjoyment in sharing their love for dance and movement with all the children and families,” acknowledged Baundino. “They have communicated appreciation and support for the Dréas Dream Mission and admiration for the children's resilience and spirit.” With ongoing commitment to Dr. Baudino’s private practice, becoming the National Clinical Spokesperson for The Andréa Rizzo Foundation with continued work at the hospital, Dr. Baudino shared her newest endeavor. Her brand new book launched this summer just in time for travel season. Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel with Children is a new pocket size book by Dr. Lori Baudino. This guidebook shows parents how airplane travel with children can be as exciting as ever. “They need support to handle moments of upset, the judgments from other passengers, and guidance to enjoy what can be an incredible family experience. The tools in the book can be used both in the air and on the ground; the analogy that parenting is a journey!” “Super Flyers is the only book on the market that promotes the positive mindset, preparation and tools necessary for flying with children from a psychological and educational perspective,” said Dr. Baudino. “The reader will learn skills for handling challenges that arise when traveling with children while finding enjoyment in new activities and gaining an expanded awareness of parenting options for life,” she explains. To learn more about Baudino’s private practice in Los Angeles and her work in Dance Movement Therapy through the Andréa Rizzo Foundation visit her website. For more information visit: www.drloribaudino.com and visit www.DréasDream.org. And Keep your eyes out for Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel with Children.