Saturday, 16 April 2016

Lights, camera, action it's time for social skills.

Over the years a few of our children have had the opportunity to participate in community theater and most recently one of our daughters has been playing the part of an "orphan" in the production "Annie".  Theater has been such an amazing opportunity for all of our children and especially helpful for the ones with special needs effecting their social abilities.  To many of us, with or without special needs, the thought of acting, of standing in front of an audience, playing a role, speaking lines and wearing a costume is far from our comfort zone.

Social interactions can be difficult for some and it's easier when you know what you're supposed to say and know what the expectation is.  In acting out small scenes, they learn appropriate responses to certain social situations and get to try out various scenarios without embarrassing themself or offending anyone else.  They also get to witness first hand how people react to inappropriate responses and understand the reasoning behind their reactions. This was a huge lesson for our daughter as she was able to memorize everyone's lines in the play and if they didn't remember or say their lines fast enough, for her liking she would say them, then give them a look, like what's wrong with you?  Working with an entire cast, she learned that the whole show was not about her and how well she knew everybodies lines.  During theater people must work together to accomplish a common goal.  They learn how to communicate, how to look at another person while speaking and how to convey a positive message through their body language.  Acting gives people a means of escape; they learn how to express themselves in a variety of ways.  Basically, acting is all about learning social skills.  These social skills are practiced in rehearsal and then put on display during the actual performance.  For example, a child learns to speak up so that others can hear him or her.  They must have conversations with others and do so in a socially appropriate manner.  These are all life skills that they can then take to everyday life.

With theater and musicals also comes a lot of singing which teaches children how to articulate and project their voices.  When our daughter started theater she had no trouble projecting her voice in fact she felt that she needed to be the loudest and drown out everyone else, no matter how bad her voice sounded from the strain of yelling.  With time, practice and some singing lessons she has become a great singer that can sing well with others.

Physical coordination has also been a challenge for our daughter and with practice she has increased her ability to use gestures to convey a message, move around the stage in a natural manner and even dance some basic steps within the plays choreography.

If your child struggles with their social abilities I would strongly reccomend looking into theater as a means of improving some skills. We were fortunate to find a community club that could accomodate us however some communities also have programs specially designed for people with special needs.


  1. Well this is certainly something I've never thought of! The therapeutic benefits of being involved in a play are plentiful!

  2. Seeing that I am a musician myself, I think theater can be a very beneficial tool for learning social skills.

  3. This is such a great idea! There is a theatre camp in our area in the summer. I think we should enroll my daughter! Thanks for this and for sharing your story!

  4. This is really interesting, I don't think I had ever really considered all the benefits to getting involved in theatre and the skills that are picked up along the way - I just thought of the obvious that it's good fun!! Thanks for sharing your experiences, I would love it if my baby boy grows up to enjoy theatre and performance. #coolmumclub

  5. That makes a lot of sense - had never really considered it that way before. I always avoided anything on the stage, as I'm really shy, but I think it's useful to develop the confidence to be able to perform. #twinklytuesday

  6. Hi! Your article makes complete sense and so is featured on Practical Mondays #10. You're welcome to use the featured button.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Great blog! Annie is my favorite play.