workshops for children ...what parents and teachers say...
For ethical reasons all names appearing on the statements below have been changed.
Alex (7 years old) enjoyed very much the drama classes! The trips to the barber have become easier. He enjoys imaginative play more. He has great imaginative conversations with his younger brother now, and is more receptive to the idea of the difference between reality and DVD’s. (Parent)
Joe (7 years old) really enjoyed the drama sessions. He doesn’t really comment much at home about what happens in school, even if he doesn’t like it. I know you worked with him on hair cuts, and some of it was difficult for him but he never would have mentioned it if I hadn’t asked. He has definitely overcome his fear of hair cutting. I can only put this down to the drama sessions. Overall, this year Joe has grown in confidence and enjoys school very much, including drama. He engages a lot in imaginary play now! (Parent)
Joe really loved going to the drama, and I believe he has gained a lot. Before, when Joe wasn’t listened he would cry, but he would be more tolerant now. He used to hate change, but slowly he has learned to deal with new situations. All year Joe was rather grumpy and moody. On the past two months, I am looking at a different child. He is so happy and funny. (Teacher)
Darren’s (6 years old) capacity to communicate has improved immensely in the last few months, his diction has improved and he has confidence to use different phrases and construct quite complicated sentences which is all new. I believe the drama sessions played an important role to bringing this about. He has initiated imaginative games with us at home (Parent).
I have noticed Darren is more tolerant to noises. He will let sometimes the children laugh in class now (Teacher).
Walter (7 years old) loves playing make-believe and loved going out to you Haris. He really enjoyed the magic carpet! I believe he enjoyed the extra stimulation of the structured sessions. He is now very confident. Before, he was always seeking to please me and would become rather upset when corrected. He now accepts correction with no trouble. He has stopped talking about ‘Thomas’ (his imaginary friend) and talks about the time he spent with Haris. (Teacher)
Walter enjoyed the programme very much, and talked about it when he came home. He talked about pretending to be somebody else and tricking people. He has played tricks on family members from time to time. He has become more aware of keeping secrets and pretending. When I asked him “What did you like the best?” He said. “Everything the best!” (Parent)
Eric (11 years old) enjoyed the sessions very much. Particularly, making up names and playing different characters. He has benefited from the classes and has used some of the strategies learned in class, outside to cope with stressful situations. He has improved in turn-taking and team working (Parent).
Fred (13 years old) enjoyed everything in the drama sessions. His confidence has grown, plus he is much more positive. (Parent)
Has developed his patience and has learned to hold back his anger. He has matured a lot. (Teacher)
Annie (7 years old) liked the drama! It made her very happy and more confident! (Parent)
Jason (12 years old) enjoyed the drama, especially making names and playing different characters. He is more forward coming up with suggestions. (Teacher)
He loved drama. He seems more confident and calmer. He said he will miss it. (Parent)
Stuart (12 years old) enjoyed the drama sessions very much… drama really built his confidence. He enjoyed it more than he would think. Stuart talks about the fun he had in doing drama. He is now more confident to gives his opinion and in general more relaxed. (Parent)
Carlton (8 years old) has become more confident! (Parent)
John (8 years old) is now playing with his action men and talking to them, as opposed to kicking them around and lining them up. This is new, only started in the last few months. He is a completely different child. He was very excited about the drama and would discuss it with me every time. It has done him the world of good. He is now taking turns, has slowed down, is more patient! Everything we said would happen in our first meeting happened! (Parent)
Nick (9 years old) has improved in many areas since he attended the CBD programme. He now asks more questions and lets you explain things to him without cutting you off. (Parent)
Paul (13 years old)… has become more creative and his speech has greatly improved. (Parent)
Max (9 years old) I noticed improvement in his ability to engage in pretend play. One day, he took a hat his sister had brought from a trip, put it on, took a note pad and pretended to be a detective. He interrogated all family members. “where were you when the cake was gone missing?” This is something that never happened before. (Parent)
Stuart (10 years old) enjoyed it tremendously!! His listening skills have improved and has become more attentive. He is now playing more with his brother, and making up games. (Parent)
Adam (10 years old) loved the drama and talked about it all the times! He has more of team spirit now, and has improved in working things out. (Parent)
Nicholas (11 years old) thoroughly enjoyed the drama and would talk about the roles he was playing. He always came back in very good form after drama on Thursdays. (Parent)
Ross (12 years old) is in general very enthusiastic when he starts new things, but he soon looses his interest. In drama, he remained enthusiastic up until the end. He asked me to subscribe him for next year already! I have seen vast improvements all around. He has improved in dealing with anger, is more articulate, and has grown in confidence. (Parent)
David (11 years old) said he loved the drama… he has grown in confidence tremendously! (Parent)
seminars for professionals
The CBD workshop proved to be the most engaging, creative and enjoyable workshop I have attended given it’s highly experiential approach to learning. As an adult I was enlightened by the experience and found it a refreshing and exciting method to practice as a psychologist. This personal investment and excitement is surely a crucial factor in successfully engaging the youths themselves to engage in the process. Immediately after the CBD training, I implemented the model with two adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome. The story line evolves with each session and was initially based around a detective agency that was commissioned to go to the land of the robots to re-programme the emotional part of the robots’ brains. My primary objective was to promote emotional literacy and regulation, however, it soon became apparent that there were a number of underlying processes operating that appeared to be offering promising outcomes immediately. These included collaboration between the two adolescents, enhanced self-esteem after overcoming obstacles/ completing tasks, and the use of social skills in a non-directive environment. Indeed, the two youths chatted for approximately 20 minutes after the second session and one of them created a poster of the detective agency for the drama in his own time. The method can be challenging and requires ample preparation time at the beginning as it is a novel way of working and one can easily slip into old habits that do not support the CBD model, but the participants’ enthusiastic response pays off for all the effort. The sessions are ongoing and I hope to run the CBD groups regularly based on their promising initial success.
Cognitive Behavioural Drama represent a natural, engaging and fun way for children/ adolescents with High Functioning Autism/ Asperger’s to learn new skills and to address specific areas of concern fears/ phobias. . The framework underpinning CBD has a strong theoretical base and the preliminary research proves promising. The CBD method is flexible and can be used to address almost any skill that is identified as a target skill for a given child. It appears that the focal point of the method is enhancing the youth’s self-esteem and motivation to engage and that specific skills to be targeted are secondary objectives that can only be addressed on the basis of achieving the former. In this respect, the model is built around collaboration, scaffolding and empowerment of the youth. The CBD method engages the youths in a fantasy world that is almost like stepping into a computer game with specific obstacles for them to overcome and tasks to master. The focus is always on the fantasy story line rather than a direct individual focus whereby the child would be placed under pressure to perform or feel that they were being evaluated. Such direct focus is often placed on youths engaging in role-play, however, CBD differs from role-play in that it is built around dramatic tension and the objective is to get the youths to invest in a story line and overcome certain tasks as a group.
I thoroughly enjoyed the CBD seminar and I look forward to putting aspects of what I have learned into practice. Over the seminar I felt I developed a greater understanding of the perspectives of potential participants and the potential benefits of this method. The experiential focus of the learning was particularly helpful in promoting insight into the experiences of children participating in the drama groups. It was also helpful in developing confidence to use these techniques in the future. I found I learned most from the CBD focus on genuinely motivating children to take part, learn skills and solve problems. The concept of using skills and problem-solving as a means to an end (and an end desired by the children) rather than as an end in themselves is one which will influence my work regardless of whether I am explicitly employing CBD techniques.
It was a fantastic experience and this was due in part to the useful and practical strategies I learned to use in working with children with ASD, and also due to the quality of the training provided in this seminar. CBD is a valuable approach to working with children with ASD, it is based on the child's own interests and motivation. This is key as it provides a safe and fun child-centered environment in which to teach children with ASD and as a result children are motivated to take part in every session. I look forward to utilising the approach in future work with children and young people with ASD.
As a teacher and a psychotherapist who works with children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties both in a school setting and privately I found the CBD course to be an invaluable additional tool to my work, and one that has influenced my approach to children even when I am not directly applying the model but using it incidentally through the school day. For example I employed the principles of the CBD model soon after the seminar to address the oppositional behaviour of a new boy at school who refused to do any work in the first couple days by creating a fictional context that would provide him with the motivation to do so. I told him that his desk was not an ordinary one - but one that had special powers and produced EXCELLENT work. This motivated him to give it a try as it made him feel special to have such a unique desk. Since then he settled easily to work and when he found it hard I said 'Oh, is the EXCELLENT desk not working???? Let’s fix it!’ …engaging him in a couple of fun activities to fix it, such as shaking it, and cleaning it, taking away the focus from his behaviour to what it needs to be done to fix the problem.
As a trainee primary teacher I feel the skills I learned in this seminar will hugely benefit the children I will work in the future whether these are on the ASD spectrum or not.
I thought the course provided a great experiential component reenforcing theories presented in this area. The course provided an emersion in CBD allowing us to learn, experience and apply the techniques ourselves.
Angela Kelly , Educational Psychologist
Eimear Goulding, Psychologist
Kate Foskin, Educational Psychologist
Adie Clarke, Teacher/ Psychotherapist
Darren Proud, Trainee primary teacher
Claire Leigh, Psychologist