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How Shakespeare is helping children with autism socialize



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Children diagnosed with autism may have new hope of improving their communication skills — William Shakespeare.

Chase Davis, a 10-year-old autistic child, decided to give Shakespearean acting classes a try. And what was the end result? It worked.

Researchers conducted a study published in the journal Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

According to the study, 14 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) came out with better communication skills following Shakespearean acting classes.

It was noted by researchers that their language skills, in addition to facial expressions, were improved after performing a play known as “The Tempest.”

Everything from eye contact, motor coordination to affective imitation were observed in others and learned by the autistic children.

“Children with autism showed significant improvement in their social skills and their ability to engage in social relationships,” said Marc J. Tassé, professor of psychology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The study began with each participant incorporating drama-based social skills into their communication habits and ended assessments to measure the reliability of the interactions.

Tests included questionnaires about the drama games that were given to participants and their parents.

All in all, the results surprised some mental health professionals, but others were almost certain of how powerful drama classes can be for an autistic child.

In fact, it very well can be one of their only chances of opening up to others and feeling normal.


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