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Do Theater Experiences Increase Social Skills For Students With Autism?

Answer To Be Discussed At The 2011 ASHA Convention In San Diego

Editors: First Author Available For Interviews During And After Convention

(Rockville, MD - November 15, 2011)  

Recent research has indicated that experience in live theatrical production can lead to improved social and language skills for high school students with autism, according to researchers who will be presenting their findings this week during the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Annual Convention in San Diego.

According to ASHA member Suzanne Reading and her co-presenters James Reading, Samantha Bellomo, and Pete Pryor, social skills are often a focus of treatment for individuals with autism, and engagement in theater provides a safe, enjoyable setting that allows students to develop those skills.  

"Our study measured changes in social and language skills for students with autism both before and after their theater experience," Reading says. "Compared to the control group, the students involved in the rehearsal and performance for a live theatrical production had significantly greater positive changes such as improvement in their ability to display appropriate emotions, to offer help to others, to control their temper, and to acknowledge the perspectives of others."

The researchers will discuss their findings at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, in Sails Pavilion at the San Diego Convention Center (Do Theater Experiences Increase Social Skills for Students With Autism? Session 8225, Poster Board 116).

Their presentation is part of ASHA's Annual Convention, which begins November 17 at the San Diego Convention Center. The Convention will feature 3 days of workshops, paper sessions, poster presentations, and the Keynote Session by Jill Bolte Taylor, author of the best-selling book, My Stroke of Insight. The Convention runs through Saturday, November 19.


About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 145,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

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