Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Julianna Shleifer, Deirdre O'Mara

What are the Effects of Drama-themed Lesson Plans on Children with Developmental Delays?

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Research has shown that the use of a drama based therapy model improves social skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder’s (ASD’s) and other developmental delays (Peter, 2009).  There is a lack of studies which examine social skills therapy for children diagnosed with developmental delays, including drama-based social skills therapy (Freeman, et al., 2003).  Much of the empirical research on drama examined in Freeman, et al., 2003 is dated.

This current study assessed children (ages 5-21) diagnosed with developmental delays (ASD, Downs Syndrome, Intellectual Disability) that participated in a drama based therapy group using a multiple baseline design across four subjects.  Pre and post-test scores on the Pragmatics Profile from the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamental (CELF-IV) will be compared to determine the efficacy of drama based speech-language therapy and its effect on pragmatics skills. Additionally questions related to client perception of social skill change are recorded.  During each session four social behaviors will be evaluated using a clinician-generated checklist.  Results demonstrated an improvement marked by an increase in social skills from baseline across treatment sessions. Ideas for future research will be discussed.