‘Improv’ to Develop Social Skills in Children with Autism!

Children with Autism Develop Social Skills
Children with Autism Develop Social Skills. Credit | Getty images

United States: A New York speech pathologist is trying improvisational theater, otherwise known as “improv,” to help young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in social skills development.

Bob Domingo, PhD, a speech-language pathologist, associate professor at Long Island University Post in Brookville, and an enthusiast of improv, stated, “Through improv, I am able to combine my knowledge of speech, language, and communication with improv games and activities, to open up new, fun ways to communicate with others in developing spontaneous, unscripted ‘scenes’ or conversations,” as Fox News reported.

According to experts, for those individuals with ASD, their symptoms differ in severity. Moreover, people also range from completely nonverbal to fully verbal in terms of one of the visible symptoms.

What are the symptoms related to ASD?

Visual Representation of Symptoms of ASD. Credit | lev dolgachov 

People experiencing these symptoms often report social and cognitive problems that interfere with their ability to interact with others, as stated by Domingo.

The younger kids usually have short span of concentration that is why they can not ofter understand what the others are saying.

Domingo said, “The person [may be] unable to use appropriate social skills in conversations,” as Fox News reported.

He also said that individuals with disorders are often seen to be having difficulty in maintaining eye contact, broaching topics, and even taking turns during conversations.

According to Fox News, people with ASD may also struggle with “self-advocacy,” he said, which means that they are incapable of verbalizing their thoughts, feelings, and needs.

As per recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 2023, 1 in every 36 or 2.8 percent of children with eight years of age were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder(ASD).

Nowadays, there is no possible treatment for autism; early treatments have been used only for the betterment of lives with the disease, as per the official website of the Mayo Clinic.

Domingo hopes his improv classes will help in boosting communication via interactive dialogue exercises.

“Games and activities encourage active listening, which is important for interpersonal communication,” Domingo added.

Know about Improv

Improv is an interactive performance in which actors improvise lines and set a scene responsively to the audience’s or host’s inputs, which means that the actors skillfully adapt to the vagaries of the script, according to experts.

There might be some moments of humor, or in other cases, it can be serious.

The members of the improv group apply “yes/and,” which is when one person makes a statement, and the other one agrees by responding “yes, and,” which quickly tackles hard-to-chart conversations better.

According to Domingo, “Improv helps people speak with one another in fun, non-threatening ways,” as Fox News reported.