Imagining autism: feasibility of a drama-based intervention on the social, communicative and imaginative behaviour of children with autism Academic Article uri icon


  • We report the feasibility of a novel, school-based intervention, coined 'Imagining Autism', in which children with autism engage with drama practitioners though participatory play and improvisation in a themed multi-sensory 'pod' resembling a portable, tent-like structure. A total of 22 children, aged 7-12 years, from three UK schools engaged in the 10-week programme. Measures of social interaction, communication and emotion recognition, along with parent and teacher ratings, were collected before and up to 12 months after the intervention. Feasibility was evaluated through four domains: (1) process (recruitment, retention, blinding, inter-rater reliability, willingness of children to engage), (2) resources (space, logistics), (3) management (dealing with unexpected changes, ease of assessment) and (4) scientific (data outcomes, statistical analyses). Overall, the children, parents and teachers showed high satisfaction with the intervention, the amount of missing data was relatively low, key assessments were implemented as planned and evidence of potential effect was demonstrated on several key outcome measures. Some difficulties were encountered with recruitment, test administration, parental response and the logistics of setting up the pod. Following several protocol revisions and the inclusion of a control group, future investigation would be justified to more thoroughly examine treatment effects.


  • Beadle-Brown, Julie
  • Wilkinson, David
  • Richardson, Lisa
  • Shaughnessy, Nicola
  • Trimingham, Melissa
  • Leigh, Jennifer
  • Whelton, Beckie
  • Himmerich, Julian

publication date

  • 2018