“Catelyn….” I hinted, looking in her direction.
Catelyn’s eyes got big, “WHAT?!?!” she exclaimed, hands flying out to the side.
“Go ahead. It’s your turn.”
Catelyn took the crayons she was given when she sat down and slammed them on the table.
“YOU TELL HER!” she cried and put her head down on the table.
I turned to the waitress that stood smiling at the edge of the table, waiting patiently for our lunch order.
“She will have the grilled cheese, please.”
“Sure thing! I will go put those orders in for you. Your food will be up shortly!” The waitress smiled and left.
“Catelyn, what happened?”
“It’s okay,” I soothed, “We will try again next time.”
Making eye contact and giving the waitress her order – that is something that can be very challenging for Catelyn.
But we found an interesting way to help her.
Benefits of Theater Class and High Functioning Autism
Over the winter’s, Catelyn always enjoys taking a class at our local studio for the performing arts.
For the past two years, Catelyn has taken an acting class. This year, she decided to change it up a bit and went for the singing class, “Broadway Kids Cabaret.”
Last night, the singers all took the stage and put on many musical numbers.
The kids were all amazing, including Catelyn. She did great.
AND Catelyn felt great.
Through the years we have found a lot of positives in Catelyn’s theater classes that help her in her personal life. The top 5 benefits we have found include:
- Catelyn learns about social interactions. She reads scripts, she learns dialogue. She learns how people interact and socially interacts by practicing the dialogue with others.
- Then – SHE ACTS IT OUT! She is told how people appropriately respond in certain social situations. She learns how to read other people’s behaviors in a script and then learns how to respond, not only with words, but behaviorally as well.
- She can take these scripted interactions and apply them to real life. She has a guideline of what to say or how to respond to someone, where before she would be confused.
- Watching the kids on stage also solidified one thing. They were all putting themselves out there in front of massive crowds. That took a lot of courage. The kids are all so open-minded and there to help one another. No bullying, just support. A perfect place for Catelyn and social learning.
- Hello confidence boost! What a tremendous feeling to get up on stage and perform! And when the show is over: The clapping, the cheering, the camera’s – and we always give Catelyn flowers at the end. She gets a lot of positive reinforcement and feels GREAT about herself!
So when it comes to her lunch order –
The interaction is a predictable one. And her menu order always stays the same.
We’ve learned that when Catelyn plans and rehearses, when she memorizes her lines, she can place her own restaurant order.
Not only at the restaurant, but she can apply this technique in other interactions as well.
The theater helps teach and support Catelyn. And when she feels good, we are all very happy with her and for her.