The project was born from a collaboration between the Dimitri Academy and the ARES Foundation (Fondazione Autismo Risorse e Sviluppo) and was aimed at enabling young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome to improve their communication and social skills in order to benefit from them in their work context or in their professional integration. The basic idea was to build a training path that would use the means of theatre to help young people with Asperger’s Syndrome to develop, in terms of awareness and application in everyday life, the relational skills essential to adequately integrate into the world of work. Among the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome there are in fact precisely those difficulties in social interaction and those unusual patterns of behaviour that risk seriously hindering professional relationships, even when a person has extraordinary skills specific to their job.
The project was structured around a series of twenty meetings, including theatre workshops and moments of theoretical in-depth study, aimed at a group of twelve participants wishing to improve their communicative and social skills. This was absolutely not taken for granted, the participants with Asperger’s syndrome managed to create a motivated, involved and consciously involved group in a common path. The collaboration of people with very different professional backgrounds who, through a continuous exchange, contributed to a mutual enrichment in terms of theoretical and practical knowledge, also proved particularly fruitful.
The theatre promoted by the Accademia Dimitri focuses on the dimensions of relationships, physical awareness and mastery of movement. Much of what we communicate does not pass through the contents of words, but through the use of body and voice: through the use of exercises coming from the training of the actor and in an environment protected from the fear of judgement, theatre allows people with Asperger’s Syndrome to appropriate social skills not only on a conceptual level, but also in the concreteness and physical complexity that characterises real life interpersonal relationships, where it is necessary to take into account the point of view of the other.
The project, developed by the Accademia Teatro Dimitri in close collaboration with the ARES Foundation (Fondazione Autismo Risorse e Sviluppo), was supported by Swiss Solidarity.
Project management: Prof. Demis Quadri, ATD
Collaborators: Christian Fischer, Francesca Gerosa, ARES Foundation; Shahaf Michaeli, ATD
go to the website of Fondation ARES
go to the website of chaine-of-solidarity
magazine of Locarno and vallies, January 2019.