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Accommodations for Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASD Behavior/Symptom General Accommodation Drama Accommodation Easily over-stimulated by too much sensory input. Result: can shut down, self-stimulate, or melt-down/ tantrum. Keep clutter in room to a minimum. Do not design a “busy” environment with lots of colors, movement, etc. Provide information through one sensory learning channel at a time (verbal or visual or kinesthetic). Provide a quiet spot in the room with ...

Acting for Fun: Drama with Older Adults

I was inspired by Gene Cohen’s longitudinal study on Creativity and Aging (Cohen, 2006), which showed improved physical, mental, and emotional functioning in elders who participated in weekly arts activities over the course of three years in three different American cities. I have also been fascinated by Helga and Tony Noice’s work on the use of ...

Addressing Bullying in Schools Through Drama Therapy

Introduction Bullying is an age-old and international problem. Surveys have identified bullying in schools across the globe. Dan Olewus first systematically researched bullying in Sweden in the 1970’s and created the first official definition and the first major intervention program (Olewus, 1993). UNESCO’s definition of bullying in schools is based on Olewus’s: A learner is bullied when ...

Ancient and Modern Roots of Drama Therapy

INTRODUCTION The word drama comes from ancient Greek and means quite literally “things done” (Harrison, 1913). Drama therapy is, in simplest terms, the use of action techniques, particularly role play, drama games, improvisation, puppetry, masks, and theatrical performance, in the service of behavior change and personal growth. It has its roots in religion, theatre, education, social ...

Art as an Initial Approach to the Treatment of Sexual Trauma for Creative Therapies for Sexual Abuse Survivors

SEXUAL TRAUMA AND THE BRAIN I am a drama therapist who could not function properly without art, music, movement, and poetry. All of the other art modalities intersect with drama, prepare for it, enhance it, empower it, develop it, and release it. I have found this to be particularly true when working with clients who are ...

Behavior Change Through Drama Therapy with Students with Special Needs

A number of years ago I was hired as a drama consultant to conduct ten sessions in a special education classroom at Diamond Elementary School in Gaithersburg, MD, north of Washington, DC. The children were between the ages of 9 and 12. A number had severe learning disabilities and several had various forms of mental ...

Bridging the Past and Present for Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease through Drama

Drama Therapy has been used in nursing homes and assisted living facilities for years as a way of enlivening residents and building community. This is true whether the drama group participants have normal cognition or if they have begun to develop dementia. In fact, because drama therapy engages the imagination and stimulates the senses through ...

Drama Therapy with Clients on the Autism Spectrum

Introduction Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) are most likely related neurological disorders that fall along the same spectrum. They involve disturbances in a number of areas, including an impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication skills, impairment in reciprocal social relationships, severe sensory integration problems, and a limited repertoire of activities and interests connected ...

Drama Therapy with Recovering Addicts

Introduction Drama therapy uses all of the processes and products of drama and theatre to help clients get to know themselves better, make peace with their pasts, envision their futures, and develop the skills to get along better with others in their present (NADT Brochure, 1997). This provides a drama therapist a wide array of tools ...

Drama with Older Adults for Life Enhancement

Drama has been used as an activity in senior centers, day programs, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes for years as a way of bringing creativity and joy into participants’ lives and creating a more connected community. This is true whether the drama group participants have normal cognition or if they have begun to develop ...

Drama: A Powerful Tool for Social Skill Development

Disability Solutions Vol. 2 (1), May/June 1997, pp 1, 3-5. available online at www.disabilitysolutions.org/pdf/2.1.pdf Cindy, an attractive young woman with developmental disabilities, is gardening in her front yard, enjoying the afternoon sun, when a dashing young man in a black leather jacket drives up on a motorcycle and stops beside her.  He gives her the once-over and ...

Ideas for Inclusive Playwriting

Think in terms of the strengths and talents of your actors – what do they do best? INCORPORATE THEIR STRENGTHS AND INTERESTS INTO THE SCRIPT. Think of ways to SIDE-STEP the WEAKNESSES of your actors. You can do this by not giving actors action or lines that you know would be difficult for them. Incorporate other actors into the ...

Non-Fiction Theatre: Giving the Community a Voice

At Kansas State University non-fiction playwriting has been a topic of study in the graduate playwriting course which I teach each year. As area residents and K-State students are sources of many of the interviews, the plays that come out of the class often reflect issues and concerns of the local Manhattan, Kansas community. In ...

Play as a Staging Ground for Life

“To be one who plays is to be one who bravely adventures through life.” — McKenna Hall (2009) Introduction Play has been seen by developmental psychologists as the work of childhood: the way children best learn, test reality, practice skills, and express themselves (Bodrova & Leong, 2007; Brown, 2009; Pelligrini & Smith, 2005; Piaget as cited in Flavel, ...

Self-Advocacy Through Drama for People with Developmental Disabilities

Suppose you were 35 years old and you still lived at home with your parents because they didn’t think you were capable of living by yourself? Or that you had to live in a group home with people you didn’t choose as your housemates and staff you didn’t hire to run the household? Suppose everyone ...

Teatr rasskaza (The Theatre of Storytelling) and Nicholas Sergeyevich Govorov

When I moved to Manhattan, Kansas in 1999 to begin teaching playwriting and drama therapy at Kansas State University, I met Ariadna Martin, the Russian wife of the Executive Director of McCain Auditorium, at a university reception. She told me she had been an actress in her native land before moving to the U.S. I ...

The Embodied Student

The following was presented at Spotlight K-State on March 24, 2015 in Forum Hall in the Kansas State University Student Union. Alas, Poor Yorick.  I knew him, Horatio. A student of infinite curiosity, of most excellent imagination.  Beheaded in his quest for knowledge by educators who promised he did not need his body in order to learn ...

The Process of Healing: Expression from Within, Insight, and Release through the Arts

The following article was presented as part of the Keynote Panel for the International Creative Arts Therapies Conference in Tokyo, Japan, on October 10, 2006: Human behavior is extremely complex. It develops based on genetic inheritance, environment before and after birth, and experiences in our families, schools, and communities. Our individual and collective histories, as well ...