How film-making can improve the social communication skills of children on the autism spectrum

Research into how children with autism use screen-based technology is primarily concerned with how it can be used to transmit information, for instance how behaviour presented onscreen to children can be used to teach them practical and social skills. Whilst this method is very useful from an educational perspective, it does not offer the child with autism the opportunity to contribute to the content that they are watching. Teaching the film production process to children and young people on the autism spectrum could provide them with a means of communication that is not reliant on language.

This is practice-led research, involving the researcher investigating his own work delivering film-making activities to children with autism in South Wales. With these activities, he works with small groups of children with autism to help them to make animated and live-action films. The aim of the research is to explore the effect that creative film-making can have on the social communication of children and young people on the autism spectrum. It will achieve this by using SCERTS, a goal-based educational intervention that aims to improve the social communication and emotional regulation of children on the autism spectrum, as well as identifying suitable transactional supports that can help to do this. The research will apply the SCERTS model to the film-making process, to investigate the way that the different parts of the process can benefit children with autism.