Sun, Feb 19, 2017 | updated 10:11 PM IST

Enacting Shakespeare's play helps autistic kids in developing communication skills

Updated: Oct 12, 2016 12:22 IST

Washoington D.C.[USA], Oct. 12 (ANI): A new study shows that recitation of Shakespeare's rhythmic language with physical gesture improves social and communication skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Children with ASD often have trouble understanding non­verbal behavior in social interactions and struggle to communicate.

Many avoid eye contact and miss visual cues, making it difficult to maintain peer relationships and share enjoyment of mutual interests.

Results showed better language skills and recognition of facial expressions in children with ASD.

Co-author of the study Marc J. Tasse said, "At the end of the study, which incorporated Shakespeare's play The Tempest, children with autism showed significant improvement in their social skills and their ability to engage in social relationships."

Fourteen children with ASD were enrolled for the only systematic implementation of a drama­based social skills intervention known as the "Hunter Heartbeat Method," created by Kelly Hunter, an actress in the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.

The novel therapeutic approach was designed to improve social interaction, pragmatic language and facial-emotion recognition skills of individuals with ASD.

"These children are taught these core skills in a very relaxed and playful environment, where it's almost like they're not aware they're being taught," said Tasse.

Each session of the 'Hunter Heartbeat Method' begins with the children quietly seated in a circle on the floor making a "Hello Heartbeat" by tapping their hand on their chest.

This allows them time to adapt to the environment and signifies transition into the session.

Facilitators then lead the children through a series of games based on the plot of The Tempest, which focus on skills such as facial­emotion recognition, eye contact, gross motor imitation, and affective imitation, pragmatics of dialogue exchange, personal space, turn taking, affective expression, humor, and social improvisation.

Initially, two facilitators model the game in the center of the circle, subsequently, facilitators and children break into twosomes for one­to­one repeated practice and retroactive feedback of the game.

Facilitators and children then return to the circle where they take turns performing for the other participants.

After a number of games, which ultimately reflect the plot progression of The Tempest, the 'Hunter Heartbeat Method' intervention concludes with a "Goodbye Heartbeat."

"You interact with someone, you enjoy yourself and you get that intrinsic reinforcement of socializing ­­ children with autism don't always get to experience that," said Maggie Mehling, the second co­author of the study .

Pre­test assessments were conducted to obtain baseline information for each child.

The children participated in the intervention one hour per week after school for 10 weeks.

At the conclusion of the study period, post­test assessments were completed, and parents and participants completed questionnaires regarding their impression of the intervention.

"It just blows me away every time I see how the kids are able to exceed all expectations with their ability to get engaged," Mehling said.

The study was published in the Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities journal. (ANI)

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 19 (ANI): In first of its kind, Broadcast Wearables has come up with a smart fitness t-shirt that can be used for navigation and keep an account of the steps you take, calories burnt and floors climbed.

Full Story >>

New Delhi (India), Feb. 19 (ANI): Referred as India's first original independent music startup, 'Friday Night Originals' has started with a vision to make original and independent music accessible to everyone.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb.19 (ANI): The Embassy of Germany, the German School and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) will jointly host a two-day German Springfest at the German House here on February 25 and 26 this year.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 19 (ANI): Red Mango is launching a new dimension to healthy eating by introducing its new line of food called "ACTIVE FOOD" with an entire variety of value meals packed with natural ingredients made fresh at the cafes.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 19 (ANI): A team of US researchers finds that youth involved in drug dealing, alcohol use disorder and gang membership have higher mortality rates, especially from homicide by firearm.

Full Story >>

Women Safety Week - Men take a Stand

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 14:06 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb. 18 (ANI): Prior to International Women's Day on March 8, a 'Women Safety Week', from February 19-24, is being organized by NGO SLAP (Street Level Awareness Program) and Priceless Possessions in Delhi and Agra, where men are taking a lead to raise a voice for gender equality & women safety.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 18 (ANI): Keeping the nerve of the city in mind- mixture of whole India- now get one stop store in the national capital, to cater to all your needs of fashion and design.

Full Story >>

By Somdatta Saha

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): A team on Briton researchers has found that while treating schizophrenia patients, add-on treatments with high-dose B-vitamins, including B6, B8 and B12, can considerably reduce symptoms of mental disorder.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): Clean drinking water for everyone is one major health goal for decades, in one a shocking revelation, a study warns that while it reduces chances of catching many deadly diseases, but it can increase the risk of childhood asthma.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): A steady consumption of vegetables, olive oil and moderate amounts of protein will keep you healthy! As consuming animal products and animal meat may double their chance of developing Type-2 diabetes, warns a study.

Full Story >>

New York [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): After being pictured sitting next to empty seats at the Phillipp Plein show, American actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg offered to sit next to U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter at the upcoming New York Fashion Week.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): Think wisely before you eat those unhealthy and fattening pizzas and burgers, as a study warns that even a single dose of high fat meal can increase your chances of diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 17 (ANI): As the exam season approaches, one tends to hear numerous stories of examination stress among teenagers which often leads to depression and suicidal tendencies.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 17 (ANI): In a survey conducted by Talentedge, India's leading Ed-Tech firm, of over 1000 young professionals across eight metros, the findings revealed an interesting perspective of India's young working professionals.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 17 (ANI): "MOONLIIT Fest 2017", a music, food and fashion melange was a roaring success and the city dwellers loved its offerings from all across the town.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 17 (ANI): Roseate House New Delhi on Friday announced its most recent offering by luxury hotel brand as it launched 'Roasted', a chic patisserie and tea lounge.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): Want to help your husband quit smoking? This might come in handy.

Full Story >>

Agra [India], February 16 (ANI): "Eat with your eyes, before you eat it with your mouth," reaffirms Chef Dinesh Patel, finalist of the fifth season of MasterChef India.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 16 (ANI): Camping has always been a recreational activity, which lets one sink into the lap of nature, away from all the chaos and commotion.

Full Story >>