Language Development for Autism Through Creative Dramatics
blog is based on the following presentation from ASHA 2011:
Development for Autism Through Creative Dramatics: Building Blocks Model
By Julia Byers
Van Volkenburg, M. Ed, CCC-SLP, Doctoral Candidate, West Virginia University
Byers Van Volkenburg, M. Ed, CCC-SLP, knows drama. She loves drama and believes
that children with autism spectrum disorders can learn important pragmatic
language skills through creative dramatics.
poster session at ASHA drew me in for several reasons. Julia's friendly smile
for one and her colorful blocks for creating dramatic sequences were unique.
But, just maybe, the fact that I was a drama student at Drake University
long before I selected speech pathology as my life's career was the real draw.
is conducting clinical research that indicates creative dramatics as a natural
form of learning to facilitate social language skills. I'm a believer.
Byers Van Volkenburg holding Humpty Dumpty
pragmatic skills enhanced through creative dramatics:
and expressing emotions
communication skills such as prosody and rate of speech
into different communication situations
- Outlet for
creativity and play
in school activities
skills that Kathie sees as reinforced through creative dramatics:
- Turn taking
between real and pretend
- Topic maintenance
- Range of
tone/volume of vocal expression
- Waiting and
- Building on
of Mind (what other people are thinking/feeling)
What this means
for a small SLP group or SLP in a classroom:
This does not
mean the SLP needs to put on a full stage production!
- As a group,
write your own short play
- Use an
existing short book: I'm thinking of how easy Brown Bear, Brown Bear or another Eric Carle picture book
could work for the young child with ASD -- don't just read -- dramatize!
- Use an
older book for older students -- let them pick it out
When my son Doug (with ASD) was twelve years old, he secured
a part in a school play. It was a wonderful experience and I believe that drama
assisted with his pragmatic and expressive language growth.
Doug is on the far right.
pathologists make good things happen."
It's all about the drama!