Study: Shakespeare Play Helps Children With Autism Communicate

Researchers say social interaction, language and facial expression skills improve

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Shakespeare takes center stage in a novel intervention for children with autism. A new study from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows children with autism had improved communication and language skills after ten weeks of Shakespeare classes.

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – In an effort to help children with autism socialize more easily and communicate more effectively, researchers are turning to the works of Shakespeare. In a newly published study, 14 children with autism participated in 10 weeks of acting classes featuring Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

“Our study found this type of intervention led to significant improvements in social involvement, language skills and even helped some children to better identify facial expressions, which can be a challenge for those with autism,” said Marc Tassė, PhD, lead author of the study and director of the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It was a very effective approach.”

Actors from The Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre worked with the children, using the Hunter Heartbeat Method, a technique that relies on the rhythm and repetition of reciting lines from Shakespearean plays. It was developed by Kelly Hunter, an actress in the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.

“It just blows me away everytime I see it,” said Maggie Mehling, a graduate assistant at Ohio State and the study’s research coordinator for the study. “These children exceeded all expectations with their ability to get engaged.”

“They’re taught these core skills in a very relaxed, playful environment,” added Tassė. “It’s almost like they’re not aware that they’re being taught.”

 

 

 

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Shakespeare takes center stage in a novel intervention for children with autism. A new study from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows children with autism had improved communication and language skills after ten weeks of Shakespeare classes.

A study finds that children with autism developed better communication and language skills after ten weeks of Shakespeare acting classes.

Members of Ohio State`s Department of Theatre teach Shakespeare to children with autism. A new study from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows the classes helped children with autism improve communication and language skills.

Chase Davis, 10, recently completed a 10-week course based on Shakespeare`s The Tempest. Davis, who has autism, took part the study that showed children with autism showed significant improvements in social and language skills after the Shakespeare classes.

After a 10-week course studying Shakespeare`s The Tempest, children with autism showed significant improvement in social and languages skills, according to a new study from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Actors from Ohio State`s Department of Theatre team up with researchers from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to study the impact of teaching Shakespeare to children with autism.

Marc Tasse, PhD, looks over the results of a study with graduate assistant Maggie Mehling at the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The study found children with autism showed significant benefits from taking Shakespeare acting classes.