Talking about social concepts only goes so far. Many of our clients are able to come up with all the correct answers when asked hypothetical social judgment questions about what they would do in various social situations but the disconnect is in “the doing” in the actual situation! Therefore, in our experience and based on clinical research, the use of drama and role-play is an invaluable technique in solidifying the skills of social communication by helping clients “try on”, and practice the skills in a non-threatening format. Developing a character teaches them about taking on another’s perspective and actively listening to each other and responding accordingly with appropriate facial expression and tone of voice, as well as to practice empathy.
Additionally, acting and improvisation teaches students the reciprocity, and “timing” of conversation. Different social scenarios can be played out in role-play with different outcomes and students can be involved in the discussion and opinions of each social scenario. We also write our own material of individualized stories, scripts, and monologues to target problematic areas for each child. Through role-play, the students are able to develop the ability to acknowledge and understand the perspective of others, create appropriate dialogue through context, ask appropriate questions, learn how to ‘join in a conversation”, listen to others, negotiate, and compromise.