Imagining Autism is a collaboration between drama and psychology that seeks to remediate the difficulties autistic children have with communication, social interaction and imagination. Using multidisciplinary drama interventions and play, we create an opening into the autistic child’s world through performance. The expert team will facilitate physical interactions between performer and child using puppetry, objects, light, sound and digital media – we create magical sensory environments in which autistic children are free to dream and wonder, free to lose themselves and to explore, while potentially finding new ways of connecting with the world around them.
We hope this project will not only unlock the imaginations of the children with whom we work, but will also demonstrate credible and rigorous research into the positive effects that drama interventions can have for autistic children. Interventions with the children will be recorded and evaluated, developing a transferable ‘proven methodology’ for activities that affect positive change in the behavior of autistic children. Our aim is for this research to have future benefits for a wide range of related conditions in the areas of Health, Education and Social Services.
Imagining Autism is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The Project Directors are Dr Nicola Shaughnessy and Dr Melissa Trimingham.