IMPACT OF THEATRE
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Brighter Connections Theatre believes that the therapeutic use of theatre can be beneficial for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). "Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences."[AutismSpeaks.org] We focus on using young people's interests and goals to improve their social, behavior, and communication skills.
WHAT IS “THE IMPACT OF THEATRE”?
We believe that the arts, and specifically theatre, provide a way for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to confront and overcome challenges in a way that is both productive and fun. With role play exercises, theatre games, warm-ups, rehearsals, performances, and an amazing team of volunteers and actors, the theatre provides an environment for children to learn to express themselves in new ways.
The whole purpose of therapy through drama centers on the idea that art is communication (Bailey, 1993). Drama therapy uses theatre techniques in order to create a safe space to work through individual issues in order to find new perspectives or alternate solutions (Silverman, 2006). Yehudit Silverman highlights several focuses of drama therapy itself in Drama Therapy Theoretical Perspectives, an in depth look at the history and theories behind the successful method. In order for a student with an ASD to learn to communicate using theatre, the following four components of drama are highlighted by Silverman as aiding an individual through the therapeutic process: performance, projection, narrative, and improvisation. Taking these dramatic techniques, Brighter Connections Theatre uses them to build an itinerary for the six week program with individual goals developed for each child.
APPLIED THEATRE COLLABORATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON
Part of the mission of the University of Dayton is to apply student learning in the community in a mutually beneficial way. Applied theatre can be broadly defined as the use of theatre skill sets in practical settings. One way in which the University of Dayton's Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program embraces this mission is by collaborating with Brighter Connections Theatre. Students at UD can apply to be College of Arts and Sciences Fellows and receive a stipend to stay in Dayton for the summer to work with BCT. UD students have the opportunity to practice applied theatre while being cast members and volunteers with BCT, and develop meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships while learning and serving their community.
For more information about UD CAS Student Fellows Program, see this link: