Abigail Barragry

Autism Arts Level 1


A drama syllabus for children on the autism spectrum

Autism Arts Level 1 is a drama syllabus that encourages children who are on the autism spectrum to express themselves, interact and use their imaginations.



Autism Arts Level 1 reflects the increasing use of creative arts and drama-therapy to help people with special educational needs to explore, reflect and develop when linguistic ability or intellectual functioning restricts their self-expression.

This drama syllabus, for use by facilitators with and without drama experience, encourages children on the autistic spectrum to learn, interact and develop. Through storytelling, group activities and arts and crafts, students can improve their social skills, self-expression, vocal and physical skills, and imagination.

During the course, children are encouraged to take part in fun and imaginative activities, including singing, dancing, making sock puppets, and acting in the interactive stories Sandy’s Jungle Adventure and The Land of Smilealot!

The syllabus covers three levels, from low to high functioning. Each is level is one year long and comprises three terms with 12 lessons per term. Level 1 focuses on the body and sensory experience. The content is aimed at children and young people from five to fifteen.

Includes CD-rom with supplementary material.

“Abigail Barragry’s wonderful new drama syllabus for children on the autism spectrum offers a three tier course that is easily accessible by both newcomers to the field and also experienced practitioners. At its heart is a belief that drama can be a powerful tool for teaching and learning, even in connection with this very challenging group of children. The courses takes Sue Jennings’ embodiment-projection-role paradigm as one of its underpinning themes, and challenges us to move away from ‘contain and train’ approach to working with autistic children. The documentation is packed with easily accessible practical exercises, which are strongly supported with tips for trainers. I shall be dipping into these materials for many years to come.”

Professor Fraser Brown PhD, Playwork Team, Leeds Metropolitan University

These manuals make up a drama syllabus to help children on the autism spectrum develop their communication skills, life skills and self-confidence.

Autism Arts Level 2: Intermediate functioning autistic children and young people.

Autism Arts Level 3: High functioning autistic children and young people


The Autism Arts Level 1 drama syllabus is aimed at anyone working with low functioning children and young people on the autism spectrum; teachers and trainers running groups for young people with autism; SEN and mainstream schools.


ISBN: 9781909810365
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 05 December 2013

About the author

Foreword by Dr Sue Jennings

Introduction; Overview

Level 1, Term 1: The five senses

Term 2: My body and me

Term 3: Puppets and play.


Abigail Barragry has worked around the world using the arts as a tool to teach, empower and bring groups together. She has spent extensive time in Malaysia where she pioneered the use of drama in education and for psychosocial development. Abigail has given numerous presentations on the benefits of creativity and expression in mental health, and conducted extensive research on this area at the University of Malaya.

Abigail has been doing drama with children and young people for many years to target specific barriers faced by individuals and groups. In particular, she has created programmes for children on the autistic spectrum, those with Down’s syndrome and those who have not had the same positive start in life as their peers.

As director of a performing arts enrichment centre, Abigail has spent considerable time fine-tuning programmes, training teachers and closely monitoring international developments in the field. As drama specialist for the National Autism Society of Malaysia, she created their official three-year drama programme.


  1. Jenelle Mazaris

    An invaluable resource for the beginning drama therapist or seasoned practitioner working with children on the Autistic spectrum. Ms. Barragry provides a comprehensive and creative step-by-step outline for every session. Each session description provides clear applications of activities and projected aims. A great contribution to the field! – Jenelle Mazaris- Registered Drama Therapist and Trainer/Supervisor for the Romanian Play Therapy and Dramatherapy Association.

  2. Ioana Serb

    Abigail Barragry’s Autism Arts level 1 opens the way to working creatively with children on the autistic spectrum. The development starts from the body, as the primary way of exploring / knowing the world, with an excellent way of integrating the five senses within a gradual progression. Furthermore, the author the author constantly uses the body as an anchor for grounding the child to themselves and into the world. Each session builds upon the previous ones, consolidates the information and skills acquired before, but always brings in new elements in a very contained and consistent combination of ritual and risk. In the same time, each session builds in both elements of self-awareness and awareness of others, with simple games and play. I especially appreciated the smooth introduction of puppets as tools for developing the role. I warmly recommend this book to any person who works and/or plays with children on the autistic spectrum, as a very useful map in stimulating development and growth.

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