7 Reasons why theatre is good for special needs kids
Theatre is a great way to learn about life and the ways of the world. For a special needs child, the theatre can present different skills and concepts that may be challenging to understand. Finding an inclusive theatre program can aid in transformative therapy, as well as help children experience friendship and fun.
These are some of the reasons why a child with special needs will do well in theatre:
- Improve Social Skills
Children with special needs don’t have many opportunities to engage socially with peers and communicate without expectation or judgement. Through experience with theatre games, rehearsal and stage work, children can have the chance to interact with others. They can also develop several social skills such as:
- Listening for cues when others are speaking
- Eye contact with those who are speaking
- Waiting for their turn
- Working with others
- Staying on the task
- Helps them follow directions
Special needs children often find it difficult to comprehend and follow directions. The structured environment of theatre helps them focus on their actions/reactions that have incentive and reward. With passing time, they learn to respond adequately to directives and imbibe it as their patterned response.
- Improve their communication skills
Theatre adds structure that is designed with positive outcomes for kids with special needs. This structure emphasizes that desired outcomes, like applause, come when they’re trying new things or working on expected behaviors. This works as a therapy and improves communication skills by helping children hold a conversation, listen with patience, encourage others, and use kind words or actions.
- Teaches Teamwork
One of the most important things about theater is teamwork. Working together ensures that everyone is a part of the fun. It allows children an opportunity to share the attention with others, as well as support them. Theatre provides a great learning experience for special needs people.
- Helps them be more aware of their body
An inclusive theatre program can help special needs kids to be more aware of their body. This is possible as the structured theatre environment helps:
- Set boundaries with where to stand or how to move in relation to peers.
- Take into account how a certain character moves, especially in relation to others.
- Learn and experience that the appropriate body language might change for different characters or situations.
- Encourages trying new things
Inclusive theatre encourage special needs kids to try things that they were previously afraid of. It helps them find the courage to try new things in a circle of others as no one is in it alone. Others may also teach them how a game is played and help children complete these activities.
- Builds comfort in physical activities
Traditionally, a theatre is a place to experience and display physical skills like dancing and choreographed movement. When special needs kids are part of a theatre group, all physical elements are modified to suit their abilities and the entire process becomes even more enjoyable.
For a child with special needs, the joy of taking part in theatre becomes magnified when they go onstage to the applause of a welcoming audience. Not only does it enriches their experience, it also helps others appreciate their unique gifts.