To many people with learning disabilities and autism, the thought of standing up and acting scenes from a play is out of their comfort zone. As part of our social groups, we have drama classes that meet every Monday at the Black Box Theatre in Belfast. Through these classes our participants learn new skills and develop their confidence in a safe environment. The Benefits of drama classes for individuals with learning disabilities and autism are endless. Here they have an opportunity to learn, grow, and socialise with a group of like-minded individuals.
Benefits of Drama Classes for Adults with Hidden Disabilities or Communication Barriers
Develops Social Skills and Builds Confidence
Our Drama classes are a brilliant way of helping our participants to gain confidence and learn new social skills. Whether they are shy, nervous, or feel uncomfortable in groups of people, through drama they can escape these feelings and learn something new about themselves.
Improvisation and creative writing are a big part of our weekly drama classes. Here we encourage our participants to get involved by using their imagination and working in teams to come up with new ideas. The social skills our participants learn at our drama classes can be transferred into their life outside of the NOW Group. This will help them to feel confident in new social situations and interact with their peers without feeling out of their comfort zone.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Drama classes are a great way for our participants to destress and forget about their worries for a while. It offers them a break from the pressures of the real world, where they can laugh, have fun, and reflect on how they are feeling. At our weekly drama classes our participants work together with like-minded people where they can express themselves and get lost in their imagination without judgement.
Drama requires those involved to play different characters. Throughout these characters we teach our participants about different emotions and how to deal with them in everyday situations. We often relate the emotions we feel, such as happiness, jealousy, excitement, and stress, to the characters in the plays we work on. This helps our participants to understand these emptions netter and find new ways of confronting them without causing added stress or anxiety.
Improves Communication Skills
Learning to act and read the script from different plays can help our participants to develop their speech and communication skills. Throughout our drama sessions, we include activities where our participants will take on different personas, read their lines from a script, and even improvise what they think will happen next. This exercise will help to develop their vocabulary, storytelling skills and how they communicate with others.
Encourages the Use of Imagination
Drama and acting give our participants a chance to use their imagination and explore new worlds. This can greatly benefit our participants with autism who are comfortable following a strict daily routine. Drama allows them to open their minds to the new characters and adventures.
Below are some images from our Monday night drama classes where our participants were learning about the story of Persephone and Hades.
Social Groups for Adults with Learning Disabilities in Northern Ireland
NOW Group is an award-winning social enterprise based in Northern Ireland. We help to support to with learning disabilities and autism into jobs with a future. The NOW Group has a range of fun and exciting social groups for adults living with learning difficulties in Belfast. Through groups our participants can build their confidence, meet people who are like them and develop their social skills. For more information about our Monday night drama classes and how to get involved, get in touch with our Social Group Co-Ordinator Anna Nelson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.