The pervasive nature of autistic spectrum disorder means that children, young people and adults with ASD experience difficulties in social understanding and interaction. Teaching social skills is therefore an essential component of our curriculum at Wargrave House School, and wherever possible, opportunities for learning and teaching are sought in functional and situational contexts.
At Wargrave we frequently use the medium of role play and drama as a tool for working with people on the autistic spectrum. We use it to:
Increase awareness of self and others
Practice using language appropriate to different roles and situations
Practice paralinguistic skills i.e. where and when it is appropriate to increase/decrease volume and rate of speech
Develop skills to recognise and practice using facial expressions; gaze; posture; proximity and gestures to aid understanding
Develop and practice pragmatic conversational skills including: turn taking; listening; eye contact; topic maintenance; relevance; appropriate interruptions; asking and answering questions etc.
Act out specific social situations which a student may be having difficulty
Help develop ‘theory of mind’, by attributing the mental states of the characters being played.