The Arts program plays a vital role in the day to day lives of the students at our school. Through fun learning experiences and natural settings, it has even proven to speed up the process of language acquisition, developing independence and communication skills.
There is an emerging though limited body of research demonstrating the effectiveness of theatre-related activities to teach emotional recognition and expression, non-verbal behaviors and gestures, listening and conversation skills, eye contact, as well as strategies to handle a variety of social situations. Theatre arts offers a safe place for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities to learn and experiment with new behaviors, make mistakes to learn from them, form meaningful relationships with others and develop critical communication skills transferable to activities of daily life. It is now thought that theatre experiences offer important opportunities for socialization for youth with ASD, but even more important, opportunities to generalize learned skills.
Theatre is a highly structured environment and may fit very well with the sometimes rigid, black and white thinking of individuals with ASD. Activities associated with creating theatre can provide an opportunity for students with ASD to have purposeful and meaningful experiences in a controlled, structured environment.