Shelley Frost uses theater to help build friendships

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Shelley Frost
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With the help of two siblings, the drama instructor started the San Carlos Children’s Theater program four years ago to help kids with autism and Asperger’s syndrome develop social skills. Frost recently received a $500 grant from the Bill Graham Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund to help the theater’s Friends Play Group social skills workshop.

What is most effective about the theater program? The way that we teach the children is through acting and imagination. They can understand how best to approach people, how to relate to people. Plus, being onstage, becoming a different character is just so much fun. After the program, we design a special DVD so they can watch themselves using their social skills as often as they want.

What’s the end result of the experience for children who participate? The most important lesson is that they can learn how to be friends. I know that sounds very basic, but that’s what it’s all about. It makes other people want to be with them. It’s a lot about empathy.

How can kids become involved in the theater? They can contact the phone number [(650) 906-8296] or go to friendsplaygroup.org and learn about the program. We are taking sign-ups for our winter session, and we do four sessions per year.

 

— Dan Schreiber

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