Children in Need 2020

by roundabout

Roundabout Dramatherapy has been very fortunate to have received funding from Children in Need to run dramatherapy groups for siblings of young people on the autistic spectrum. 

We are now on our final year of funding and over the last three years we have been able to run groups for children both in primary school and secondary school.

The groups have been very successful, Dramatherapy has been truly effective in the support it offers and enables children to learn the tools to deal with what can be difficult life circumstances.The support the participants have given each other has been remarkable. It has been an absolute privilege to have been able to facilitate these groups and witness first-hand the compassion, empathy and understanding of ones so young, sharing with each other their strategies to support their siblings, in order to help the other group members cope with their situation. 

The aims of the dramatherapy sessions have been to improve the children’s ability to express and process their emotions as well as develop social and relationship building.  The groups have also provided the children with the opportunity and space to reflect on the impact of autism in their families.

As with all our dramatherapy sessions the groups also:

  • Build confidence 
  • Raise self-esteem.
  • Offer the opportunity to share feelings 
  • Provide support to work with personal issues
  • Build and develop trust and interaction.  
  • Encourage turn taking
  • Improve listening skills 
  • Offer support for social skills such as making friends.
  • Explore and develop the imagination.
  • Increase creativity 
  • Provide an opportunity to play in a fun and contained structure

Each session begins with a “hello” and an opportunity to share personal news, both “good” and “not so good”. The sessions are very interactive; playing games like “Zip, Zap, Boing” and “All those Who”. We share stories and together become different characters from the stories and discuss the themes.  The stories are chosen for their useful themes to the group; not being listened to, acceptance, facing challenges and learning how to listen.   

A main focus is encouraging the children to name the challenges they face with their siblings at home, how they adapt and negotiate with their siblings and what are the positive traits or attributes their siblings have. Worry boxes are made and decorated and worries written down and put in the box to be shared with an adult at some time in the future. Some worries are discussed, and the group together look at ways of working out solutions. The sessions end by recapping the session and each child naming one thing they remembered from the session.  In the penultimate session the parents and guardians are invited in at the end, to hear what the children want to share about their experiences of the dramatherapy and learn and witness a game being played. In our last time together, the group has a party.

We are very grateful to Children in Need and to everyone who fundraises for them, for enabling Roundabout to run these vital dramatherapy groups.