Drama Therapy for Children with ASD

Feb 2020
My name is Jack Rosenberg, and I am a Senior in Poolesville High School’s Humanities Magnet Program. For my capstone project, I am currently conducting research into how Drama Therapy can be used as a treatment for mainstreamed children with functional autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I am posting this because I need professional insight as to my research project inquiries. I was wondering if you would be able to take a short survey on current ASD treatment practices. If you or someone you know is a professional in the field of psychology, psychiatry, social work, ASD, or therapy, please have them take this survey. All help would be greatly appreciated! The survey can be found at the link below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or my AP Research teacher, at jackholdenrosenberg@gmail.com and Jennifer_V_Marks@mcpsmd.org, respectively.
Thank you so much for your time.
Jack Rosenberg
Survey: Pediatric Autism and Drama Therapy Survey
Mar 2020
I am not a professional, but I do have aspergers disorder. I would like to tell you my thoughts.

Drama is always praised for the feelings of expression and vulnerability that the actors produce.

I'm not sure if people with autism would feel comfortable expressing vulnerability. It may be that autistic people are either genetically that way or they have been conditioned with abuse during their vulnerability and then became autistic.

Perhaps if you were to hold private performances in an environment safe from criticism drama would help.

You may even find extraordinary performances from autistic people.

Autistic people may be better at portraying historical figures than non autistic people, but they may not feel comfortable portraying postmodern figures. Historically people seem to have been more autistic due to long farming and settling processes, rather than fast paced postmodern culture. You may have found highly functioning autistic people in history, who were actually considered highly successful and functional for their time.

Drama involves emotional attachment to other people. And I think you should be very careful encouraging an autistic person to have a deep emotional experience with another autistic person, aka kissing, caressing, because autistic people may not understand how to follow through with a relationship and it may hurt them, or they may hurt each other accidentally.

I would not recommend exposing an autistic performance to the public, or they might decide to retreat into deeper autism as a response to deep criticism.

I have seen an autistic performance on YouTube. And he explains that he has to heavily edit his videos in order to produce something worth posting. I wouldn't put high expectations on anyone with autism in the field of acting. You should value their abilities and severely limit your role as a director.

Acting in itself had been known to affect even famous actors personalities. Hats off to Heath Ledger. Be careful that you return them to their own personality state rather than encourage them to delve too deep into their characters personality. Involving yourself too much into a character can cause personality disorders or schitzo identic disorders. I struggled with this, which was derived from acting intensely as a child, and I always default to the character I portrayed as a recreational passtime habit. I can't help it.

I recommend a video production if you are going to produce something. I believe that Tom Cruise has slight autism. You can create a wonderful edit of a video production that you will not be able to create on stage. It is safer and probably more productive.

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