The imagination room: teaching drama to children on the autism spectrum: one mother's journey to receiving a treasured education

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Hajidiacos, Demetra
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The purpose of this autoethnography is to recount a one-year personal and professional journey of a parent/teacher/researcher as she designs and implements a teacher-led imaginative drama program for children, ages 5 – 10, with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The program uses strategies (familiar routines, picture boards, etc.) that assist children with ASD to learn new skills. Parents in the final ten-week session of the program are surveyed regarding their perceptions; 19 of the 22 students in the program participated in the 10-week study and 15 parents were present on the day the surveys were distributed and collected and completed. The researcher was specifically looking for what aspects of the program parents found valuable and what aspects needed improvement. Qualitative analysis of the data revealed that parents were satisfied with the program and would recommend it to families who have children on the autism spectrum. Key findings indicate that parents specifically appreciated the classroom structure and the teacher’s knowledge of ASD. Recommendations for future improvements to the program are also discussed. The researcher discusses why a program like this is so important for children on the autism spectrum: aiding in the ability to perspective take and make friends.
autism, drama, autoethnography