What Does Autism Friendly Mean?
Not for nothing is autism called a spectrum disorder, and as such it can present in many different ways. Indeed, some children and young people with autism can behave in one way, and others may do the exact opposite: the NHS page on ASD states amongst its signs and symptoms, “some children don’t demonstrate imaginative or pretend play, while others will continually repeat the same pretend play.“
Meeting all the needs of the many varied and different aspects of autism in one drama class would be very difficult, however there are a number of common areas that all those with ASD tend to struggle with, such as - social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour, and this is what Orange Frog Theatre Company will be focusing on in their drama classes.
Because we know that many of those with autism like routine, and to know what to expect, we will be working on a specific theme each half term, and there will be a strong structure to our classes, with definite beginning and ending exercises, as well as a familiar format to the remainder of the session.
Small group work will be encouraged, although not forced, and teachers will work with the children and young people to support the group work. We will aim to be working to a ratio of 1:6 minimum, so one teacher to every six children, to ensure that all the students receive as much individual attention as possible. However, our ultimate aim is to have a 1:4 ratio, one teacher to every four children.
It is important when working with those with autism to be flexible, and Orange Frog believe that flexibility is key to meeting the needs of your child or young person. All classes will be structured in such a way that they can be adapted and altered as necessary to meet the individual needs of our students.
At Orange Frog we aim to implement autism specific strategies as much as possible to break down any barriers to your child’s or young person’s involvement in our drama classes. These will include:
creating the right environment, so that it is both welcoming, and meets the needs of the broad spectrum of sensory issues in autism, by offering a low anxiety atmosphere;
motivating your child or young person to get involved in all aspects of the drama classes, by inviting and encouraging them to take part rather than forcing them;
developing your child’s or young person’s group work abilities through familiar, structured and supported activities, as well as fun drama games;
focusing on building your child’s or young person’s attention span by using regular, strategic activities aimed at teaching listening and speaking skills;
adapting and modifying those activities to meet the needs of all the students to ensure that they also develop their communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal;
working closely with parents, carers and guardians to understand best how to work with your children and young people to avoid triggering unwanted behaviours and distress.
If you are interested in signing your child up for our autism friendly drama classes you can book their place here.