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Theatre Professor Finds Working with Children on Autism Spectrum Rewarding

The Rose had the privilege of bringing in Gretta Berghammer for our production of A Palette of Possibility in 2015.  (You can read more about that process here.) She directed a magical production in which children had the opportunity to actively participate in the play.  They could come up on stage and communicate with the performers, all while sitting in comfy bean bag chairs.

She also works heavily with kids on the autism spectrum.  Berghammer launched the Spectrum Theatre, an experimental program designed for young people on and off the autism spectrum during the fall 2011 semester.  Focusing on the six-to-eight and nine-to-12 age groups, the program provides drama experience to best support the development of pretend play, social interaction and nonverbal behaviors.  Instead of putting children on stage, the program uses process drama, in which students and teacher work together to create an imaginary world to explore a problem, situation or theme for their own benefit rather than for an audience.

“Working with children on the autism spectrum is challenging,” she notes.  “I’m taking risks, making mistakes.  You don’t have to be perfect—every day I chip away a little more.”

Click here for the full article on Gretta Berghammer and her recent work.