Dinosaurs in The Classroom
Using the Creative Arts to Engage Young Children with Autism
Keywords:Autism Spectrum Disorders, Early Childhood Education, Creative Research Methods, The Creative Arts, Engagement, Early Intervention
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterised by challenges with social communication and restricted, repetitive behaviours and interests (APA, 2013). Young children with ASD frequently have impairments in early social communication skills including language and joint attention (Tager-Flusberg, 2000). This paper draws on a longitudinal research project that included in-depth qualitative case studies of young children with ASD transitioning to early education settings. Findings include the importance of nuanced approaches to inclusion for children with ASD, and the recognition that all children, including children who are nonverbal, have a voice.
Drawing from a review of the relevant literature, this article is structured around a discussion of the following themes: the challenges experienced by children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) participating with peers, the need for bespoke approaches to inclusion drawing on the creative arts and the importance of children’s voice and agency when children communicate differently.
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