Dinosaurs in The Classroom

Using the Creative Arts to Engage Young Children with Autism


  • Miriam Twomey Trinity College Dublin
  • Carol-Ann O' Siorain
  • Michael Shevlin
  • Conor McGuckin


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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How to Cite

Twomey, M., O’ Siorain, C.-A. ., Shevlin, M., & McGuckin, C. (2021). Dinosaurs in The Classroom: Using the Creative Arts to Engage Young Children with Autism. REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland, 34(1). Retrieved from https://reachjournal.ie/index.php/reach/article/view/311