I promised another blog soon, so please enjoy reading about some work I did over the summer with Warwickshires Integrated Disability Services.
During the summer holiday, I went to work at Exhall Grange School over in Coventry on ID’s autism summer play scheme. I received a phone call from the team leader about 3 days before the project commenced, asking me if I would come and lead the drama sessions on the project, as well as supporting SEN children on throughout different activities.
The drama program myself and Claudia created was to suit the needs of each age group appropriately, Enabling the children to feel safe and secure so they could join in as and when they felt like they could. We also gave each child the opportunity to be working outside of their comfort zone if they wished, allowing them to explore within drama while remaining in a safe environment. It was a big relief to have lots of compliments about the drama program from the staff and children.
I worked with a few different age groups on this project, primarily the 5-8 and the 13+. Working in these very different age groups I could notice such a difference in behaviour and the way in which the children socialise with each other, and how they cope in certain situations.
The summer scheme has reminded me how no child is the same, and how every child has very particular needs, but it also shows that the range of needs is so broad, it isn’t impossible to meet these needs for every child. Each and every child is like an ice berg, you may only see a tiny bit of them, but deep under it all there is such a lovely, innocent, kind and caring person who is just misunderstood.
In today’s world, we have grown as a society to be so accepting of so many differences, yet lots of people still are unable to accept people who are on the autism spectrum. It’s such a shame to still hear in today’s world that people will automatically assume that someone on the autism spectrum cannot do anything for them self, yet even those who appear that way still process information and are often above average intelligence, they just cannot show it. It’s a bit like being paralysed and being spoken down to, and being assumed you are less capable while not being able to do anything about it.
Projects like this show me that drama is such a powerful tool for children on the autism spectrum, allowing them to experiment socially with their voice, actions, emotions and body language in a safe environment, and the effects this can have on the way they behave in the real world.
I would like to thank the IDS team from Warwickshire County Council for inviting me to work on Summer Scheme, I hope to be invited to work on another project again soon!