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Abstract


THE EFFECT OF DRAMA THERAPY ON DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

In this study, it was aimed to study the effect of drama therapy on improving social and communication skill levels of children with special needs. Drama therapy is an interdisciplinary therapy method which is fed from different art fields such as theater, dance and music. In other words, it is a personal change and healing method fed from art and theater. Researches that shows the effects of drama therapy on different socially disadvantaged groups have been gained and still gaining in literature. At this point, although studies on the effect of drama therapy on improving social and communication skill levels of children with special needs have begun, it is essential that future studies on that field are necessary since that group is quiet large which means they have different needs and drama therapy is an innovating form as a method of therapy. That future studies in this field must have an empirical feature which means which means new methods are required according to the specific need. From this point of view, the study was made with 15 individuals with special needs who were diagnosed as Down syndrome. A total of 24 drama therapy workshops were held once a week for 6 months. The study was applied to 15 individuals from different age and intelligence levels taking in consideration of the muscular and motor muscle skills required for drama therapy among the 150 individuals with special needs who are members of İzmir Down syndrome association. In the study, case study method was used and a researcher (observes general process), a drama leader, a special education teacher, an expert who has experience in different therapy processes, 5 research teams including an assistant who recorded photos and videos regularly and 15 individuals with special needs participated. During the research, videos were recorded regularly, participants were observed and periodical observations were made with the families by the special education teacher. Research was evaluated as a result of records, observations and family interviews and results were revealed. It was determined that the drama therapy program prepared in this study significantly changed the social and communication skills of the individuals with special needs such as the number of words used, eye contact, sustainable communication, expression style and power. In the light of this result, it can be suggested that drama therapy could be used actively for increasing the level of communication of the individuals with special needs. It has been observed that drama therapy has been applying in pre-school education but not adequately in children with special needs. Therefore it can be sad that the use of drama therapy especially for children with special needs has a vital importance in provision of social participation, being healthier individuals hence creating a healthier society.



Keywords
Drama Therapy, individuals with special needs, Down Syndrome, communication skills.



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