An innovative intervention model
for children with
high functioning autism
Cognitive Behaviour Drama (CBD) is a research based intervention model developed by Dr Haris Karnezi under the supervision of Dr Kevin Tierney at Trinity College Dublin, and supported by the Irish National Council for Special Education. This is an innovative approach specifically designed to meet the needs of children and adolescents within and beyond the autism spectrum, incorporating concepts and techniques from behaviour and cognitive therapies into the art form of drama.
The goal of the programme is to offer all children the opportunity to develop social and communication skills that would facilitate their everyday social interactions; help them achieve their objectives; and enable them create and maintain meaningful relationships that would improve their overall well being and quality of life.
The programme is designed to provide participants with opportunities to explore the rules of social interaction and develop competences associated with communicative success. The skills we work on therefore include: listening; turn-taking; team working; initiating and responding to social initiations; reading and interpreting non verbal cues (body language, facial and vocal expressions); awareness and appropriate use of body language, verbal and vocal expressions; and recognition and expression of emotions. Specific objectives are also set to meet the individual needs of each participant; these often include ritualistic mannerisms, resistance to change, and phobic avoidances.
The method involves engaging the participants in exciting fictional scenarios and encouraging them to seek various solutions on numerous problems that will lead them to an understanding of causal relationships (i.e. how a different course of action/behaviour may affect the outcome of an interaction). Participants are not explicitly instructed to perform target skills but rather led through a problem solving methodology to understand the functions that these skills serve and how they could help them to achieve their objectives. Motivation is based on understanding as opposed to reward, and reinforcement arises as a natural consequence.
Research findings from the implementation of the CBD model on a series of studies indicated positive changes in various aspects of the participants’ behaviour. These include benefits in areas such as self confidence, theory of mind, ability to differentiate between reality and fiction, flexibility to deal with new situations, tolerance, frequency and quality of engagement in pretend play, reduction of ritualistic mannerisms and phobic avoidances, overall well-being.
The Indian Tale
· dancing around the fire
· hunting wild buffaloes
· canoeing down the river
· chasing cowboys
· tricking them into revealing
their true intentions
· succeeding in protecting our land
Focus of CBD
· Self Confidence
· Problem Solving
· Social skills
Fears & Anxieties