Drama Therapy to Treat Autism

The word drama projects the setting of a stage where the artists communicate using a monologue or singing combined with rhythmic dance, measured steps, and interpretive movement. Dialogue delivery, acting dancing, and singing are important tools that help the person who sees the world through eyes of autism. Although some of the individuals with autism … Continue reading “Drama Therapy to Treat Autism”

The word drama projects the setting of a stage where the artists communicate using a monologue or singing combined with rhythmic dance, measured steps, and interpretive movement. Dialogue delivery, acting dancing, and singing are important tools that help the person who sees the world through eyes of autism.

Although some of the individuals with autism are verbal, still they lack the skills to speak or interact smoothly. At times their language skills are repetitive (echolalic) and they tend to stutter over words. Some of them can recite big parts of dialogue from movies or TV shows with perfection. Drama therapy is an opportunity to help individuals with autism to improve their imitative speech strength by practicing and perfecting their ‘lines’ in fun and play sessions.

Drama therapy for autism involves theatrical exercises and creativeness while preparing for scene acting, body language or gestures, etc., to strengthen their social speaking and communication skills. Drama therapy for autism offer people many other interventions including the appropriate touch, right movement, the soothing sound of recorded music, holding hands with other participants, handling objects, modulating voice, mirroring/copying and singing.

A drama therapist uses appropriate methods for individuals with autistic spectrum. Some of the benefits of drama therapy for autism are:

  • Children with autism having ‘no spoken language skill’, learn that body movement and gestures are important for communicating their thoughts and feelings.
  • Being in contact with their drama therapist, children maintain eye contact more confidently during rehearsals.
  • For children who are wheelchair-bound most of the day, being physically supported (to stand) by the drama therapist while delivering a dialogue can produce a sense of safety and comfort.

Drama therapy allows individuals to know about their abilities. It helps them to free themselves from the confinements of helplessness. For children with autism, thundering applause is a huge motivator for them to discover how ‘special’ they are.

A drama therapist can help individuals with autism to:

  • Improve self-confidence
  • Improve the ability to recognize and react to emotions
  • Improve both verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Explain ways to interact successfully
  • Improve the ability to interpret gestures and signs
  • Develop body movement
  • Increase imagination and creativeness

Drama therapy is a time-tested approach to treat people with a spectrum of challenges and to improve their ability to interact successfully with others.

Author: autismconnectassociation

Autism Connect is a voluntary group based in Mumbai, India formed by parents and professional care-takers of children on the autism spectrum. Parenting and caring for a child with autism is a special responsibility in itself. There are doubts, questions and uncertainties in our minds. At Autism Connect, we endeavor to collect literature on evidence based practices (with special emphasis on newer emerging therapies) in the management of autism and share it with autism associations and organizations across the world with the hope that these associations disseminate and distribute this to their members and parents of children with autism.

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