Shakespearian Drama-Based Intervention Aims to Aid Communication for Autistic Youth

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio State University adapts a drama-based intervention program created by actress Kelly Hunter of the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. The program, called Hunter Heartbeat Method, utilizes the poetic rhythm of Shakespear (iambic pentameter) to aid autistic children with communication. The London program has been working with autistic youth for 20 years and rendered remarkable progress in verbal skills, eye contact, and facial emotional recognition. The Hunter Heartbeat Method is not just play-acting, it is a series of structured games based on the famous Shakespearean play The Tempest that work various communicative functions within a structure that is active, rewarding, and culturally educational. The youth practice speaking in emotive tones by tapping their hearts like a heartbeat (or in iamic pentameter) while taking turns saying the same word with different emotive connotations. A video of Ohio State University’s pilot program can be seen on their webpage, at http://nisonger.osu.edu/shakespeare-autism. Arts for Autism programs are becoming more and more popular worldwide, providing mediums of expression for the autistic community. This drama-based intervention is easily replicable and cost-efficient. If proven successful, this could be a great step for our school systems still lacking proper special needs resources. Tell us, at Shema Kolainu Hear Our Voices, how you feel about intervention strategies like this and check out our innovative programs!