Drama, puppetry can unlock languages of autistic children

By: | Published: July 29, 2016 12:56 PM

Creativity and intermedial languages such as drama, puppetry can aid families to better communicate with children suffering from autism, new research suggests.

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. (Reuters)Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. (Reuters)

Creativity and intermedial languages such as drama, puppetry can aid families to better communicate with children suffering from autism, new research suggests.

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.

Families with autistic children can better engage with them by teaching new play skills using drama and puppetry, multi-sensory materials and even comedy to help with their challenging behaviour.

Autism continues to be regarded as a community that is difficult to access due to perceived disruptions of interpersonal connectedness, said Melissa Trimingham, Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent in Britain.

The findings showed that engaging the children with autism in an all-surrounding drama experience using lights, sound, puppets and masked characters, can help such children to feel free to play and respond, drawing out eye contact, speech as well as shared play.

Through detailed observations of two children, the team demonstrated how “intermediality” unlocked some of the many and various languages autistic children use, facilitating their self-awareness.

Wider use of creative “material” languages such as puppetry, costumes, projection, microphones, lights and sound in play can act as a bridge between the lived experience of autism and practices of education and care, the researchers said.

The results appear in the journal Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.

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