Response to: Instructional Effectiveness of an Integrated Theatre Arts Program for Children Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Their Nondisabled Peers John McCarthy and Janice Light
Instructional Effectiveness of an Integrated Theatre Arts Program for Children
Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Their Nondisabled Peers
John McCarthy and Janice Light
Children using Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) systems face seemingly insurmountable challenges on a daily basis. This article provides a fine look at how children using AAC can be benefit from engaging in creative drama activities with their nondisabled peers. These activities can lead them to more success with engagement levels in their school and home lives as well as increasing their opportunities for and skills as communicators.
I found this article to be quite a fascinating look into the lives of this population young people, as well as another example of the positive effect drama activities can have in helping children with yet another manifestation of the possible communication issues. The subject of engagement was discussed quite liberally in the piece, because the possibilities for students operating at this high level of communication impairment to disengage from the learning environment are common and extremely problematic. Teaching through drama requires a high level of individual and group engagement, and so it is theorized by the authors that drama is a very positive way to secure optimum engagement with the impaired children in the study.
The authors also point out that in addition to providing enhanced experiences for the children using the AAC, there were benefits to the unimpaired children in the study as well, stating that “the high levels of engagement, participation, and success across children lend support to the use of theatre activities in integrated settings – an approach that may provide a nonthreatening way to help integrate children and their nondisabled peers.”