Shakespeare works may help children with autism

March 22, 2013 2:48:31 PM PDT
Teachers, therapists, and parents are always looking for new ways to reach children with autism.

As it turns out, Shakespeare could be the answer.

An actress with Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company got the idea a few years ago to use the exaggerated voices and expressions of Shakespeare to teach kids who have trouble communicating.

But now, with the help of student actors, Ohio State researchers are trying to prove it works.

For 42 weeks, they are charting students, and they are already seeing progress.

"In the first pilot study, we saw some significant improvement in communication, significant improvement in social relationships," said Dr. Marc Tasse of the Ohio State Medical Center.

"It's kind of incredible and overwhelming for the actors sometimes, as for the child," said drama professor Robin Post.

Therapists think there's something in the repetition and beat of Shakespeare's works that also seems to reach children with autism.