This is a blog written by my good friend Melissa Daly. I met her while presenting in an international congress regarding autism celebrated in Russia. Melissa happened to be presenting with Richard Hayhow a well known authority on the benefits of acting therapy in autism. Melissa and Richard did several presentations while in Russia much to the delight of their audience.
Over the years I have had several discussions with Richard Hayhow regarding how acting can be of benefit to autistic individuals. We have discussed how acting may be considered a way of enhancing executive functions, primarily theory of mind, a fun way of doing Applied Behavioral Analysis, or maybe a creative way of teaching vocabulary and language. It reminds me of the story of Donald T (Kanner’s first patient) retold in the book “In a Different Key” by Donvan and Zucker. Donald made great strides in either high school or college (I don’t remember which one) when he joined the school’s theater company. Despite his monotonous intonation it was easy for him to memorize dialogues. The experience opened his eyes to a new social world while at the same time having fun.
For those of you wishing more information on the subject please visit: https://workingwithartists.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/richard-hayhow-open-theatre-company-aka-shyster-inc-something-in-the-air/