Date Approved

2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Special Education

Committee Member

Ana Claudia Harten

Committee Member

Bill Cupples

Committee Member

Patricia Zimmer

Abstract

This study explored the benefits of a week-long drama camp on the socials skills of children on the autism spectrum through the perspectives of parents and instructors. Data collection included pre- and post-camp questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The results revealed that daily intensive exposure to drama and theatre can be a viable option to promote the development of social skills among children on the autism spectrum. The activities seemed to promote particular gains in caregiver/peer interaction, adjusting to routines, eye contact, and social perceptions/cues. Additionally, results indicated that children with greater social communication needs and those with more extensive exposure to the arts seemed to make stronger gains in social skills. Finally, the results of this study suggest directions for future studies in the area of using theatre to develop social skills, and highlight the importance of advocating for the inclusion of children on the autism spectrum in theatre programs.

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