Asperger Syndrome-Acting Lessons for Kids With Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome-Acting Lessons for Kids With Asperger Syndrome

Youth and teens with AS, a high functioning form of autism, have difficulty with social skills and interacting appropriately with their peers. According to Brenda Smith Myles and Jack Southwick, authors of Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments [Autism Asperger Publishing Co., 2005, p. 90], children and teen students who are experiencing problems with social interaction may want to consider acting lessons as a potential therapy for learning how to better express themselves.

In the classroom, teachers can create small student plays periodically to emphasize a history or science lesson, and at the same time promote important social skills for their students with Asperger syndrome. Here are some of the benefits that a student with AS may see as a result of acting.

Social Skills Lesson: Acting Teaches Expression

Acting usually requires the memorization of a written script of conversation between people. Additionally, within a script there may be prompts that describe how actors in the scene should express their feelings while playing the part (smiling, raising eyebrows, placing hand on chin, etc.). These prompts can actually help a student with Asperger syndrome learn how to express feelings and emotions.

Acting in a play will also help to make the AS student be more self-aware by teaching the appropriate facial expressions and body language that indicate the various emotions.

Empathy Lesson: Acting Teaches How to Interpret Others

Because of the physical prompting and replicated conversation that accompanies any acting experience, kids with AS may gain valuable insight about how other people respond emotionally to situations, and teach them to gauge how others are feeling through interpretation of gestures and facial expression. Through acting lessons, one could actually train a child with Asperger’s to recognize emotions in real life situations and learn how to behave appropriately.

Communication and Social Skills Learned Through Acting

Using scripts and prompts, children with Asperger syndrome may learn the following important social and conversation skills:

  • Appropriate responses in conversation
  • Recognizing nonverbal facial expressions of others, both positive and negative
  • Suitable greetings and farewells
  • Initiating friendships and conversations with others
  • Introducing others
  • Conversational tones and appropriate voice volume
  • Manners and conversational etiquette
  • Accepting help and compliments
  • Giving compliments

Recording Appropriate Behavior to Help Promote It

Another idea that may help a child with Asperger disorder to visually record a segment of the play acting in which the child is a part. This is especially helpful if the recording clearly shows the appropriate manner in which people converse with one another. The visual demonstration can be played multiple times when recorded and is an effective tool to help teach social skills to kids with AS.

Asperger Syndrome-Acting Lessons for Kids With Asperger Syndrome

Youth and teens with AS, a high functioning form of autism, have difficulty with social skills and interacting appropriately with their peers. According to Brenda Smith Myles and Jack Southwick, authors of Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments [Autism Asperger Publishing Co., 2005, p. 90], children and teen students who are experiencing problems with social interaction may want to consider acting lessons as a potential therapy for learning how to better express themselves.

In the classroom, teachers can create small student plays periodically to emphasize a history or science lesson, and at the same time promote important social skills for their students with Asperger syndrome. Here are some of the benefits that a student with AS may see as a result of acting. Asperger Syndrome

Social Skills Lesson: Acting Teaches Expression

Acting usually requires the memorization of a written script of conversation between people. Additionally, within a script there may be prompts that describe how actors in the scene should express their feelings while playing the part (smiling, raising eyebrows, placing hand on chin, etc.). These prompts can actually help a student with Asperger syndrome learn how to express feelings and emotions.

Acting in a play will also help to make the AS student be more self-aware by teaching the appropriate facial expressions and body language that indicate the various emotions. Asperger Syndrome

Empathy Lesson: Acting Teaches How to Interpret Others

Because of the physical prompting and replicated conversation that accompanies any acting experience, kids with AS may gain valuable insight about how other people respond emotionally to situations, and teach them to gauge how others are feeling through interpretation of gestures and facial expression. Through acting lessons, one could actually train a child with Asperger’s to recognize emotions in real life situations and learn how to behave appropriately. Asperger Syndrome

Communication and Social Skills Learned Through Acting

Using scripts and prompts, children with Asperger syndrome may learn the following important social and conversation skills:

  • Appropriate responses in conversation
  • Recognizing nonverbal facial expressions of others, both positive and negative
  • Suitable greetings and farewells
  • Initiating friendships and conversations with others
  • Introducing others
  • Conversational tones and appropriate voice volume
  • Manners and conversational etiquette
  • Accepting help and compliments
  • Giving compliments

Recording Appropriate Behavior to Help Promote It

Another idea that may help a child with Asperger disorder to visually record a segment of the play acting in which the child is a part. This is especially helpful if the recording clearly shows the appropriate manner in which people converse with one another. The visual demonstration can be played multiple times when recorded and is an effective tool to help teach social skills to kids with AS.

One of the hardest challenges for kids with Asperger syndrome is learning how to interact socially with their peers. Improving peer interaction and teaching appropriate communication techniques should be main goals of any parent or teacher of a child with AS. By taking formal acting lessons, or by simulating acting lessons in the classroom using scripts, positive reinforcement, and visual recordings of performance, children with Asperger syndrome may make significant progress toward improving social skills.

One of the hardest challenges for kids with Asperger syndrome is learning how to interact socially with their peers. Improving peer interaction and teaching appropriate communication techniques should be main goals of any parent or teacher of a child with AS. By taking formal acting lessons, or by simulating acting lessons in the classroom using scripts, positive reinforcement, and visual recordings of performance, children with Asperger syndrome may make significant progress toward improving social skills.

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