Autism Speaks, through its Family Services Community Grants program, is currently funding a project at the University of Northern Iowa called Imagine the Possibilities: Creating Dramatic Worlds with Young on the Autism Spectrum. This project will focus on social skills training, peer modeling and inclusion through a drama based program for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
A local Iowa station did a story on UNI’s program, and a video clip was later posted on their website where it received over 1400 “hits” in less than 24 hours. Thanks to the “social media” savvy of the University of Northern Iowa it was shared hundreds of times
via Facebook and sent to Ellen DeGenres for consideration for inclusion on her television show sometime in April, Autism Awareness month.
This article illustrates the impact Autism Speaks' grant support of the UNI Imagine the Impact Drama program is having on the youth and families of northeast Iowa who live on Autism Spectrum. Every one of the 62 youth currently being served by the grant through the in school program and another 12 who are enjoying drama and music through a weekend program attended the production.
Attendance at this play has made a huge impact on the work of the ASD students in their workshops; empowered with a vision and “onstage” experience using drama their work has become more energized, more vocal, more physical and a bit more imaginative. All of that within the first 6 weeks of the project!
For more information on our Community Services grants, please visit http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/grants/community-grants