All posts by Parasuram Ramamoorthi

Drama and applied practioner working with Autism and other disabilities.

| | posted on:Workshops

Velvi & PRAYS organising a 3 day workshop / hands-on training for Parents, Teachers, professionals working with Children/teens/young adults in the spectrum on the use of Technology

Equating Autism and Technology

Velvi - for Autism and Drama for Development

Velvi – for Autism and Drama for Development

Workshop Details

Dates : 27,28 and 29 March 2015
Venue : Lion’s Aravind Eye Care Foundation, Anna nagar, Madurai 6250120, Tamil Nadu, India

Registration Fee : Rs 5000 ( includes Lunch/coffee/tea and some reading material)
You should bring your own laptop/Ipad for the workshop.

Accommodation
Those who need accommodation have to make their own arrangement. There are hotels available around the venue.

Last Date for registration: 28th feb 2015
Only 30 seats on first cum first served basis.

 

For further communication:

Dr.Parasuram Ramamoorthi
Email : parasuram.ramamoorthi@gmail.com for application form and other details.
Mobile : 91-96555 73751

 

Equating Autism and Technology

To leverage the unique abilities of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, to translate a disability into a special talent had been the main innovation for project Prayas, an initiative of Autism Society of India along with SAP labs India Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore since June 2011.

We have worked in the following major areas-

  1. Using Technology as an early intervention tool by developing an on line free portal called www.learn4autism.com
  2. Using iPads to enable readiness for learning
  3. Using technology to establish complete rehabilitation by exploring and facilitating employment opportunities

At Prayas we have been able to discover the unique potentials of persons with ASD and equated these with Technology.

  • Attention to detail
  • Photographic memory
  • Association to events, facts etc
  • Love to follow order or structure
  • Learning in real life situation
  • Repetition-use in bringing perfection
  • Unerring focus
  • Pattern recognition
  • Openness and Truthful

Equation between Technology and Modalities of learning of persons affected with Autism

  • It offers order in learning.
  • It follows a medium of visuals, graphics and sounds
  • It offers predictability.
  • Applications can be used repeatedly to strengthen learning.
  • It is a non-judgemental and non-threatening tool, helps in dealing with issues related to Sensory Defensiveness

The following table summarizes our work related to the use of technology.

 

Focus AreaDescription
Skill Development at an early ageReinforcing Potentials: Through computersIt focusses on learn4autism, the free, on line educational resource, its concept, principle and curriculum. The methodology developed makes it simple and easy for an educator or parent to use technology as an early intervention tool. It is an indigenous programme where principles of special education are equated with technology and how steadily one can develop skills related to computer.
Early intervention through iPadsiPad has been used at Prayas as the early intervention tool where a child is still at the readiness level of 3Rs, communication and learning to use his/her time effectively. Why and how iPad is so effective is the focus.
Exploring Employment Opportunities
Digitization, Documentation, Testing andApplicability ofMulti Media-
Digitization and Data Entry are the simpler tasks for any individual; Prayas has augmented its focus to others areas like Testing and Designing.

Testing Software may be a skill with repetition but it is a high end skill, needs precision; five persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders are employed at SAP in this task in a completely OPEN employment situation.

Software testing involves:

  • Repetitive test execution
  • Scrutiny of changes in application
  • Repetition of tests in multiple systems, devices etc
  • Transparent reporting of issues/status

 

High volume manual tests due to limited automation support/benefits

What becomes a challenge and monotony for regular testers over time can be managed with testers who have autism because they are strong on observation, repetition and openness.

 

Digital Designing seems to be an avenue to explore the possibilities of employment in terms of OPEN, SUPPORTED, SHELTERED and SELF. Prayas shows those avenues with respect to the applicability by developing skills and being a part of a product.

| | posted on:Camp

Velvival 2015i Art for Autism Fest – Every year Velvi organises an Art for Autism festival. Our 8th festival will be held at Coimbatore. It is a residential camp for children and adults in ASD along with parents. Professionals working with ASD also may attend. Training in Music, Movement, Art and Drama conducted through workshops and on the final day a performance will be created.

Conducted by the AMAZE Charitable Trust, Coimbatore
Date: 22, 23 and 24 Jan 2015
Venue: Karl Kubel Institute for Development Education ,Anaikatti Road, Mankarai, Coimbatore

Whats new …

Two facilitators from California State University ,USA to lead the Kinesiology Workshops

Festival logo …“Neelam Pattam” by Aishwarya Sriram a 34 year old on the spectrum from Chennai

Aishwarya will be present for Valedictory of Festival and exhibit her work at the ART exhibition on 25 JAN 2015 @Coimbatore

Last date for registration: 15 December 2014

For more details /clarifications contact the FESTIVAL COORDINATOR.

Ms. Akila Vaidyanathan, Director, AMAZE charitable trust ,Coimbatore

Email: amaze1209@gmail.com
Mobile number: +91 9791823043 ,+91 9487743571 ,+919025122233

those interested may write to Ms Akila who is the festival coordinator : nirala44@yahoo.co.in

Velvival 2015i Art for Autism Fest

 

| | posted on:Education

“I create; therefore I am” John Sealy Brown a corporate Visionary. Every child is creative in his/her own way. Recognizing the child’s innate ability in the particular area of Creativity is the task for parents and special educators. Brushing aside conventional notions of creativity, one should look at the activities of the child; it may be watering the plants or dressing up a doll or even arranging a row of cars.

A creative Mind observes and recreates. Looks at the Mother and draws lines on the face of the Mother and makes the mother look a ghost or a cartoon character. Observation is the key skill involved as the basis of Creativity.

Imitation is the second step. I watch you driving a car and pretend with a toy that I am driving a car.

Ingenuous replay is the third step. Every child observes, every child imitates but only few children ingeniously recreate or freshly clone another activity born out of the action of driving a car.

Autism and creativity

It is acknowledged world over that children and adults in ASD have some special issues like social skills, communication barriers, eye-gaze, and eye contact and reduced attention span. Some behavior issues like stimming, echolalia, rocking, hand flapping and banging one’s head disturb the parents and teachers.

Drama can help in fostering the creativity of children and now research indicates that Drama training can actually mirror neurons and help the children with social skills and creativity.

Let us start with a simple theatre game. Improvise with an Object.

Both the parents and the child together play the game. Take for instance a pen. Father turns the pen into a Microphone and starts singing. Mother may turn that pen into a comb or a spoon. Encourage the child to transform the pen into something else, may be telescope. This is fun and coupled with Fun it stirs Imagination. If there are more members playing the Game, a pen can become nearly thirty other things depending on the imagination of the members of the Group.
Next a variation of the game. Improvise a person.

Choose cartoon characters. Chotta Bheem, Dora, epic characters, Ram, Hanuman and familiar persons like Father, mother, aunt, Grandfather.

Give a specific task for improvising. Talk like Chotta Bheem. Walk like Dora. How does Mother use the I pad, how does the father use I Pad. These activities improve observation skills and also help the child to imitate. Imitation can lead to mimicry. Mimicry may lead to acting with Imagination. They can create a world of Fantasy.

I create therefore I Am - Teacher with children with autism

I create therefore I Am – Teacher with children with autism

Gestures:

Expressing through Gestures without any words is an interesting game of creativity. From simple gestures one can move on to complex and subtle gestures. Open your arms and close them on your shoulders. Indicates a Hug. Simple. Just wave your right arm to say Bye. These are simple enough.

Call the child to come close to you by a Gesture. Ask the child to look up by a gesture of the Head lifting up.

From these simple gestures move slowly towards, Eye movements, looking with eyes half closed and winking at a person. Shoulders erect and stand firm on both feet. Look straight. The Body becomes a Gestural tool now. Children who are interested in classical dance can go through the various hand gestures and expressions of emotions through the eyes and face muscles. A king’s Body is different from a Beggar’s body. Play the game of Different bodies through Gestures.

I create therefore I Am - Dr. Dr. Parasuram Ramamoorthi with children with autism

I create therefore I Am – Dr. Dr. Parasuram Ramamoorthi with children with autism

Animal sounds: all children love animals. Be it a dog, or a cat or larger animals like the Cow, tiger, and elephant. We may exploit the love of animals into interesting games and build simple stories around them. How do you represent an elephant with hand gestures? Just use your arm as the trunk of an elephant. Or both arms as the ears of an elephant. One parent can use the arm as the trunk and the other parent can use arms as ears of an elephant. Simultaneously use the elephant sound.

You may use the nursery rhyme: Old Mc Donald had a Farm. Moo like a cat, bleat like a lamb
Bark like a dog. Try different breeds of dogs. The animal sounds can help you to identify your child’s love for imitation and the love for animals too.

Weather games: This is real fun game, may be played outdoors or indoor. In a park or in the beach or in the drawing room. If you are creative you may play anywhere. Play this game with barefoot.
Walk in the rain: imagine a down pour and walk. Walk in the hot sun: imagine walking barefoot on a hot day in a road.
Walk in the beach with waves touching your feet. Water rising to your knee.
Imagine climbing a rock in the hills on a snowy day.

Walk against the wind. Walk against a storm. Walk along a gentle breeze.

These games introduce weather conditions, and how the body responds to Weather.

Now play with colours. The most important aspect of this game is to enjoy a freedom to play with colors, not to restrict the child’s fancy. The sky need not be painted Blue always. If the child prefers to paint Green Sky, let the child do. Creativity demands freedom of expression. Use colours with indulgence and passion. Paint the face of Mother. Give a Facial to Mother. Use different natural colours like cucumber paste, papaya, yoghurt, Mango pulp. Very easy to play with and easily available at home.

This game encourages creativity and bonding between parents and children. The game is also useful for increasing the attention span of the child in an activity.

We may also bring in the animals again. We can use colurs to make animal masks. Use simple paper plates. Draw the Tiger with some yellow and red lines

Let the tiger’s eyes burn bright with some silver lining.
Simple way to teach the concepts of Shapes and Mathematics.
Put two dots of same colour on the papar plate. Join the two dots.

Now you get a straight line.

Put three dots : two on the straight line and one on the top
Connect the dots by a straight line and now you get a curve.

A fun way of playing and learning.

What do the Games do to children and parents?

The games encourage creative out of box thinking for children. It enhances their attention span of an activity. Helps them to relate themselves to the space and their own body. Specifically it helps the children with a lot of Mirror neuron activity in the Brain. It fires mirror neurons by activities like Imitation, playing a role. Mirror neurons also ,when fired, help the children to empathise and know what some one else feels. For parents it is an opportunity to bond with their children. Spending time with children in a creative way, parents also have fun and re-live their childhood. Most often we miss our childhood fun and the games help the parents to go through that childhood joy again.
Each game specifically addresses an issue: eye-contact; communication strategy; group play; tactile issues.

Children may or may not cooperate. Persistent efforts by parents and creatively modifying the games to make them interesting are requisites to make the children participate. Results can be achieved over a period of one or two weeks if played on a daily basis. If a child refuses to play one game, don’t lose heart. Try another game or a variation of the same game . There is not a rule : only one game is good.

Parents have to try out several games and see what works for their children and what does not work.

It would be good to try all the games and keep playing choosing a game a day so that the child is not bored. These games are for any child, including Neurotypical children, and particularly useful for children in the spectrum.

– Dr. Parasuram Ramamoorthi

For Further Details
Dr.Parasuram Ramamoorthi
Velvi
Chairman
Velvi offers training programme in arts/theatre/music and dance for people in autism spectrum disorder. The workshops Drama for Autism are conducted throughout the world and recently at the Autism society of America’s annual conference at Chicago.

 

#10, Ashok Nagar Third Street, Kochadai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu625016 | India

Email: ram@velvi.org
Phone: +91 452 2384479 +91 9489873751 +91 9655573751
Website:

 

| | posted on:Education

Autism spectrum Disorder is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects nearly 1 out of 150 children in India and in US it is 1 out of 100 children. DSM V characterizes the disorder as failure to interact socially, repetitive behavior and failure to establish eye-contact with another person and refusal to participate in Group Play.
 
Since 2006 I have been working with children with ASD in India and in several countries to facilitate communication , improve eye contact and increase the attention span of children with ASD.

Mask unmasks Autism Spectrum Disorder – I used theatre technique of the Mask. Mask has been a theatre tool in ancient Indian theatre, Greek theatre and in some European cultures too. Even in modern western theatre mask is used. Very significant use of the mask is seen in Therukoothu, Kathakali, yakshghana and in some ritualistic theatre forms like Ram Leela.

Therukoothu, Kathakali, yakshghana and in some ritualistic theatre forms like Ram Leela

Therukoothu, Kathakali, yakshghana and in some ritualistic theatre forms like Ram Leela

This is Kathakali theatre mask which helps the actor to project and also helps the actor not to identify with any personal emotion but with the emotion of the role he plays.

My research and workshops over these 7 years have proved effective with more than hundreds of children and persons whom I have trained have also used the Mask technique in several cultures and found it effective. Hence the project Mask Unmasks Autism is presented so that it may reach many more children in Northern India.
Masks have been used in many therapeutic settings by Drama Therapists like Sue Jennings and Phil Jones and I have also used it at MS Chellamuthu Mental health Institute Madurai with 12 patients of Schizophrenia. But so far research shows that I am the first one to use Mask effectively with children with ASD.
 
The use of the mask reduces peripheral vision and helps the child to focus. The mask brings the child in direct contact with the care giver or the parent. Eye-contact develops in nearly 6 out of ten children. Eye –contact is fundamental for communication. I would like to submit some videos. Here are some pictures:
Mask unmasks Autism Spectrum Disorder2

Mask unmasks Autism Spectrum Disorder3
Masks have also improved the confidence of children and they have started interacting with other children comfortably because their face is hidden. They feel secure with the mask.
Masks used are very colorful and often depict what the children love, animals, superman and other interesting characters. The masks are not forced on them. Masks are displayed on the floor and children start picking what they like .
 
Mask engages them in creative play and group play. While playing in a group eye contact improves and their attention span also increases. In more than one case with the use of the mask and facial mask attention span has increased from 10 seconds to 180 seconds. This has been demonstrated in India, US , Dubai and Jordan.

12345
Eye Contact (time in seconds)2-32-53-65-86-8
Attention to Task (% time fully engaged)20%25%35%50%55%
On Topic Conversation (# exchanges)24556
Appropriate body languagenoyesyesyesyes
Reciprocal turn taking (#exchanges)13345

Mask unmasks Autism Spectrum Disorder_graph
This graph shows a child’s improvement in attention span over a period of one week from 10 seconds to 180 seconds

DSCN1923



Mask work at Genesis Dubai: Mask improves attention span and eye contact and facilitates communication.Dubai. Jan.16.2013

This video will show you working with a young boy in Dubai and the eye-contact and communication improved in the course of a three day workshop.
 
Some children who had sensory issues ( particularly tactile issues) refused the mask and hence I had to resort to the facial mask, using non-allergic cremes and today I use natural products like
Papaya pulp, carrot pulp, yogurt mixed with basin powder and facial mask I found not only improved the eye contact ; it also improved the bonding between the parent and the child. A lot of attention, focusing and bonding developed between the child and the parent during facial mask.
Mask unmasks Autism Spectrum Disorder7
There are many videos demonstrating the use of the mask and the facial mask : mostly taken during my workshops in India and in many foreign countries.

The core of the project is to facilitate communication and social interaction through the use of Mask.
The Hindu Coimbatore had a write up and several articles have been published on my work with the children .
I consider this project highly innovative , socially relevant and would be of immense use to schools, homes of children with ASD in India. It is an interdisciplinary project : Theatre/ Disability studies and Mental Health.

– Dr. Parasuram Ramamoorthi

For Further Details
Dr.Parasuram Ramamoorthi
Velvi
Chairman
Velvi offers training programme in arts/theatre/music and dance for people in autism spectrum disorder. The workshops Drama for Autism are conducted throughout the world and recently at the Autism society of America’s annual conference at Chicago.

 

#10, Ashok Nagar Third Street, Kochadai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu625016 | India

Email: ram@velvi.org
Phone: +91 452 2384479 +91 9489873751 +91 9655573751
Website:

 

My Reference

  • Jennings, Sue. Dramatherapy Theory and Practice for teachers and clinicians.Vol.2. London: Routledge. 1992
  • Jones, Phil. Drama as Therapy: Theatre as Living. London: Routledge.1996
  • University of Rostock Germany 2006
  • University of Michigan Ann Arbor 2007
  • Marshalls University West Virginia. 2008
  • Bell University Indiana. 2008
  • Autism Society of America. Chicago .2009
  • University of Reading. England. 2008
  • State University of California at Chico. 2010
  • Littlekinder Daegu Korea November 2010
  • Art for Autism festival at Madurai 2009
  • Art for Autism festival Madurai 2010
  • Art for Autism Festival Madurai 2011
  • Pallavanjali Art for All Festival April 2011
  • Drama for Autism Wilmar Minnesota may 2011
  • Global Autism convention Bangalore May 2011
  • Freedom in Elements Autism Camp Chico, Ca August 2011
  • Evolve Festival at Mumbai Jan.2012
  • Parents/teachers at Chennai SFS Meeting . Jan 2012
  • Workshop for Parents and Teachers at NIEPMD Chennai March 2012
  • PORDAC Delhi workshop for Parents and Teachers April 2012
  • Shenanigans workshop for Professionals Atlanta July 2012
  • Drama for Autism Festival workshops Jan.2013 at Chennai
  • Drama for Autism workshops for World Autism awareness at Coimbatore Apri.2013
  • Drama for Autism workshops At Riga Latvia July 2013
  • Key note address at IDEA Congress at Paris July 2013
  • Drama for Autism workshop at TAARANA Kulalumpur Malaysia November 2013
  • Drama and Social skills workshop at KINDD South Korea 11-18 November 2013

| | posted on:Education
Online Applied Drama in Autism Certification – October 2014

Velvi.org is a registered thespian organization entrusted to promote the global development of Autism Spectrum awareness and social competency skills for children and adults. Thespian arts are a natural facilitator of self advocacy, sensitivity and awareness turning the work of developing better understanding into real fun!
By popular demand, www.velvi.org now offers a newly developed self-paced, academic online Certification in Applied Drama for Autism for collaborating members and the community at large.

Internationally acclaimed, Director, Dr. Ramamoorthi, a tireless international pioneer in the field of Drama for Autism states communities gain enhanced harmony using collaborative acting to process the meaning of emotions and practice desirable responses. Perhaps, most importantly, use of Velvi’s structured lessons results in better parent-child relationships because of better understanding.

Velvi - Drama for Autism Online course

Velvi – Drama for Autism Online course

International Pioneers
  • Dr Ramamoorthi, Ph.D, Director of the course, Madurai, India
  • Ms. Mythily Chary, a Senior Special Educator and author of several books on Autism from India
  • Mr. Andrew Nelson, Marshall University, WV, USA, Positive Behavior Support Specialist and author of two books on Autism and Theatre
  • Dr. Paula Carter, Ph.D, Director of a non-profit Spectrum Ensemble and Theatre Artist of Missouri State University, Columbia; MI, USA
  • Ms. Nikki Bettcher, Autism Theatre Consultant at Wilmar, MN, USA Dr. Lynn Adams, Ph.D,a special Educator and Researcher in Autism serve as the course Instructors.

 
Each educator brings a wealth of both scholarly educational backgrounds and practical, real world experience using the spian techniques of Autism and Theatre to enhance self-advocacy and promote harmonious communication and socialization within communities.

  • Three Online Seminars + Core
  • Curriculum
  • One on one tutoring
  • Self Paced Directed Experiential Course

 
Don’t miss your chance for answers to your most pressing questions. Regular opportunities for feedback and support from online mentors are also available.

Course Objectives

Overview of Autism

  • Applied Drama
  • Theatre Games
  • Role Play
  • Mask for Autism
  • Rehearsed response
  • Comedy and humor
  • Acclimation and integration of Individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in theatre
  • Social Stories
  • Sensory Integration through Drama
  • Drama and People Skills
  • Autism and Adolescent Issues
  • Final Summative Online Meeting Session
Course Description

The course material is written in simple English for parents, teachers, social workers, counselors, health care professionals and interested community members. Academic credentials are not a pre-requisite to enroll in the course. The Material will be emailed within 15 days of enrollment. Your time commitment will average 20 hours for writing assignments, 20 hours for reading of the lessons and reference work, 3 one-hour long Skype Seminars and one optional contact programme. A mastery score of 80% on each section test and experiential assignment is required to achieve the certificate in Applied Drama for Working with Autism. Certificates will be awarded in exchange for course evaluations.

Current Student Testimonials

It helps me to introduce the Navarasas (9 emotions)”

“Now I see them as persons who can emote and relate and I know they enjoy role playing!”

“For children in the spectrum, repeated practice with these new methods will help them learn.”

“My children have begun to act and enjoy acting. They have improved facial expression.”

“Children, I work with have begun to enjoy body movement/facial expression and are more comfortable in groups. Some behavior issues like aggression have considerably reduced after playing with Drama”

“Games covered in unit 3 were extremely useful. We are doing it on a continuous basis daily for 20 minutes. Kids seem to enjoy and learn from the activities.”

“ I helped a child to communicate” Fun and play go together in the course. You may go to Facebook Velvi Drama for Autism Course and read student testimonials.

Fees:

India: Rs. 10,000
US: 300 USD
UK: 200 GBP ,  200 Euros
UAE : 1200 AED.
Fees are payable to: “Naitya Inc.”
Naitya Inc. 43382 Asbury Dr. NOVI, MI
48375 ( only for Non-Indian applicants who reside outside india)

PayPal Email: naityanaavarasuinc@gmail.com

Indian applicants may transfer or send a cheque.
Name of the account : VELVI
Account number : 32277377190
State Bank of india, Kochadai
Branch code : 15570
IFSC code :SBIN0015570

Last Date of Registration: 27 September 2014

 

For Further Details
Dr.Parasuram Ramamoorthi
Velvi
Chairman
Velvi offers training programme in arts/theatre/music and dance for people in autism spectrum disorder. The workshops Drama for Autism are conducted throughout the world and recently at the Autism society of America’s annual conference at Chicago.

 

#10, Ashok Nagar Third Street, Kochadai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu625016 | India

Email: ram@velvi.org
Phone: +91 452 2384479 +91 9489873751 +91 9655573751
Website: