From the Journals: Theater Offers Promise for Youths With Autism A novel autism intervention program using theater to teach reciprocal communication skills is associated with improved social skills in adolescents with the disorder, Vanderbilt University researchers revealed Oct. 22, 2013, in the journal Autism Research (bit.ly/theatre-intervention). Children with autism who took part in the study made significant improvements in ... From the Journals
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From the Journals  |   January 01, 2014
From the Journals: Theater Offers Promise for Youths With Autism
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   January 01, 2014
From the Journals: Theater Offers Promise for Youths With Autism
The ASHA Leader, January 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ4.19012014.np
The ASHA Leader, January 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ4.19012014.np
Theater Offers Promise for Youths With Autism
A novel autism intervention program using theater to teach reciprocal communication skills is associated with improved social skills in adolescents with the disorder, Vanderbilt University researchers revealed Oct. 22, 2013, in the journal Autism Research (bit.ly/theatre-intervention). Children with autism who took part in the study made significant improvements in social perception, social cognition and home living skills by the camp’s end. There were also positive changes in the participants’ physiological stress and reductions in self-reported parental stress.
The SENSE (Social Emotional Neuroscience & Endocrinology Theatre) program evaluates the social functioning of children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Camp participants ages 8 to 17—nine boys and three girls—joined with typically developing peers who are specially trained to serve as models for social interaction and communication, skills that are difficult for children with autism. The camp uses techniques such as role-play and improvisation, and culminates in public performances of a play.
Researchers led by Blythe Corbett measured the children’s social perception and interaction skills before and after the camp using neuropsychological measures, play with peers and parental reporting. They found significant improvements in facial expression processing, social awareness and social cognition, and duration of interaction with familiar peers over the course of the camp experience.
Additionally, they measured the stress hormone cortisol to compare the children’s stress level at home, at the beginning of the camp and at the end of the camp. Participants’ cortisol levels rose on the first day of camp when compared to home values, but declined by the end of treatment and during post-treatment play with peers.
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January 2014
Volume 19, Issue 1