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SENSE Theatre—a stage of hope for children with autism—is a unique theatrical intervention research program designed to improve the social and emotional functioning of children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. It is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 501(c)(3) non-profit organization expressly established to provide a community-based program dedicated to serving the autism community (see www.sensetheatre.com). The participants in the investigation were part of a full musical production of Disney’s “The Jungle Book Kids” that was produced by SENSE Theatre and Davis Musical Theatre Company and performed for the public.
The pilot investigation evaluated a theatrical intervention program, Social Emotional NeuroScience Endocrinology (SENSE) Theatre, designed to improve socioemotional functioning and reduce stress in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Eight children with ASD were paired with typically developing peers that served as expert models. Neuropsychological, biological (cortisol and oxytocin), and behavioral measures were assessed in a pretest–posttest design. The intervention was embedded in a full musical theatrical production. Participants showed some improvement in face identification and theory of mind skills. The intervention shows potential promise in improving the socioemotional functioning in children with ASD through the utilization of peers, video and behavioral modeling, and a community-based theatrical setting.
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- Brief Report: Theatre as Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Blythe A. Corbett
Joan R. Gunther
Clayton W. Schupp
- Springer US