Some children with autism are verbal but they do not have the ability to speak and interact socially and but atimes what also happens is they are able to repeat other people’s words verbatim, recite speeches and dialogues in exactly the same way as the original.
In drama therapy the content or the narrative of any story used during the process, allows the person to take on certain roles in order to portray the characters, which makes it possible for them to form a link with their own problem or emotions indirectly, as in working and solving through the fictional work and so while doing this they learn to apply the experience to the real people by encountering in everyday life and make adequate social adjustments.
It attempts to offer an environment for children with Autism which is creative, enjoyable, and helps in engaging opportunities to practice a wide horizon of social skills in the safety and protection of a workshop surroundings.
Ranging from whole groups as well as one-to-one settings, drama interventions work on the basis of the creation of a fictional pretend situation, which playfully catches the attention of the participants and promotes interaction and communication with others. Thus by functioning on a continuum, there are several different approaches which utilises drama as a meditation with individuals with ASD, varying from involvement of performance in a theatre to working on play scripts which at one end provides improvisation and simulates different sensories at the other end.
Underpinning all kinds of drama interventions is an objective to actively involve the participant in making an exploration while making sense of the world in which they live and thus working creatively with them to comprehend their place and their relationship with others in that surrounding.
Drama interventions are “structured, arts-based, educational mediations”, which involve a facilitator, teacher, or therapist who draws from a range of creative and fun teaching and learning strategies to actively involve the individual in learning for improved social awareness, communication, and understanding. Usually, both the facilitators as well as participants take on roles ranging such as pretending to be a shopkeeper,or some highly developed roles such as pretending to be a superhero going.
Because social difficulties are at the helm of autism, it is indeed very crucial to be addressed as they affect teaching and learning. Because we know education takes place in a social context, where teaching social skills to these children is very essential.
There are many exhaustive lists of treatments, medicines and therapies that claim to help people of all ages as the unique feature of drama therapy is the use of masks. The fact that children with autism “avoid eye contact because of the problems faced in processing sensory information they receive through the eyes”, such children feel overwhelmed and burdened when they are bombarded with visual stimuli.
And so by giving them wearable masks, it can help in cutting off the peripheral vision such that the child does not feel distracted or overwhelmed.
As from the previous researchers this not only helped with the issues in making eye contact with another person but also improvised their attention span and their inability of understanding emotions. There was also reduction in hyperactivity and motivated children and adults to play creatively.