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Theatre Therapy and Autism

Can Theatre be used as an effective therapy for children with Autism?
by Courtney Wheater on 18 November 2012

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Transcript of Theatre Therapy and Autism

Can Theatre be used as an effective therapy for children with Autism? Theatre Therapy and Autism Autism: The Musical How Theatre Therapy Can Help Children with Autism The Miracle Project is a program created by Elaine Hall (a mother of a boy with autism) who wanted to use her knowledge of theatre to help her son and other children with autism. The program lasts 22 weeks and begins with improv. games before developing into a scripted show written and performed by the children. -Developmental disability characterized by neurological differences
-Affects the way that people perform daily life skills, socialize, communicate, and relate to their world
-Struggle to draw relationships between events/ideas, strong focus on details, high level of distractibility, very literal/concrete thinking, impulsive, difficulty with organizing/sequencing, high levels of anxiety, sensitivity to sensory cues
-Struggles to pick up social cues and with relating to others Autism Spectrum Disorder -Used for years as a form of therapy for people with mental illnesses
_Use of improvisation allows people to be 'in the moment' as they consider both daily and more complicated issues, allows people to see their stories as an outside observer
- Theatre has been known to be a cathartic experience (to purge of emotions) since the ancient Greeks which allows people to experience a range of emotions in a safe place Theatre Therapy Floortime by Stanley Greenspan Theatre Programs for Children with Autism -Provides kids with confidence and passion
-Help to understand emtions and express how they feel and understand others
-Focus on use of vocal tone and volume, body language, and facial expression
-Improv. helps to develop instincts
-Scripts help to develop learned behaviors and the subtleties of nonverbal communication
-Helps with anxiety, recognition of facial expressions, and theory of mind skills (recognition of own and other's beliefs, desires, and knowledge) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xdp0VYRrZw -Play-based approach
-Learn how to share attention, relate to others, read emotional and social cues, solve problems, think creatively and logically
-Follow child's lead and pattern of play
-Careful use of voice and tone
-Integrate sensory experiences Miracle Project - Kids with autism tend to be unimaginative and struggle with sensory overload
-Use of Movement Exercises, Name Games, Improv. Scenes and Games, Pretend Play, Script Writing
-Use of the kids' ideas to write a play
-Children with autism are brought together, supported, and given opportunities to explore emotions/talk about issues/play
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