Investigating a theatre-based intervention for Indigenous youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Exploration d’une intervention basée sur le théâtre auprès de jeunes Autochtones atteints du syndrome d’alcoolisme fœtal

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Abstract

Background.

Theatre-based interventions use artistic media to facilitate social and emotional awareness and have therapeutic benefits for persons with developmental disabilities and mental health problems. The role of these interventions with Indigenous youth who have emotional, behavioural, and cognitive sequelae related to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) has not been explored.

Purpose.

The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences and acceptability of a theatre-based approach for facilitating social communication and engagement in youth with FASD.

Method.

Participants were three Indigenous youth with FASD. A qualitative exploration of the experiences and acceptability of the intervention was conducted via focus groups held 2 weeks post–program participation with the participants, their caregivers, and program facilitators. The transcripts were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach.

Findings.

Our results identified perceived postintervention improvements in participants’ development of self-esteem, social skills, and emotional awareness.

Implications.

A theatre-based arts intervention has the potential to support improvements in social skills for youth with FASD.

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