Developing Social Emotion Communication Skills through Adaptive Improv Theatre

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Improv is an excellent tool to support youth and adults to gain confidence, build social skills, practice life skills, and expand social emotional communication skills - all while having fun. Lacy is an award-winning teacher and program director who has designed a number of programs that serve neurodivergent youth/adults and at-risk youth.

Information about these programs, the general benefits of adaptive improv, and a program video can be found below.

Lacy regularly teaches classes, workshops, and trainings for other professionals. If you’re interested in hosting a workshop or class within your organization for students or professionals, please get in touch! Please also feel free to check out Lacy’s training specific website.

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building connections

Lacy founded Building Connections, a specialized and adaptive improv program through the Hideout Theatre in Austin, Tx in 2012. She directed that program and served as the lead teacher for seven years before moving out of Austin. During her time there, she developed all of the programs, wrote the curriculum, supervised and trained all staff, managed all administrative tasks, and served as the lead teacher. Programs included:

-Improv programming for autistic and neurodivergent youth and adults

-Weekly classes for homeless youth in a local shelter

-Improv programming & workshops for youth with mental health issues

-Workshops for foster youth in residential care

-Classes for LGBTQIA+ youth in a local drop-in center

-Workshops for youth re-integrating into the community after incarceration

-Etc.

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camp yes and

Lacy also co-founded and co-directs Camp Yes And in Indiana through Indiana University, which utilizes her Connect Improv Curriculum as a guidepost.

Camp Yes And is a unique program that has a dual purpose. It serves as a training program for helping/ arts professionals, and is also a summer camp for autistic teens.

In the morning, Lacy teaches the professionals how to integrate improv pedagogy and exercises into their work with neurodivergent youth in order to improve social emotional communication skills. Professionals are up on their feet, laughing, and learning flexible, practical, and effective strategies for engaging students in social, emotional, and academic learning.

In the afternoon, autistic teens join for camp, and the professionals get to put their new learning directly into action, while campers strengthen communication and social skills, increase flexibility and spontaneity, support the integration of sensory information, and build relationships.

Lacy makes teaching look effortless. She is a master at reading the needs of the group, adapting instructional methods, and managing diverse personalities and behaviors.
— Jim Ansaldo, PhD

A few benefits…

SOCIAL SKILLS

Adapted improvisation games and exercises are an excellent way for students to practice and generalize social skills in a safe, supportive, and FUN environment!  

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EMOTIONAL SKILLS

Improv provides students with the opportunity to explore valuable self-regulatory skills, such as staying in the moment, being flexible, letting go of mistakes, taking risks, empathy, and emotional expression.

Communication

Communication and connection resides at the core of improv, and classes give students the opportunity to enhance their listening skills, express their thoughts and feelings, and boost their ability to co-create and collaborate with others.

This video from 2015 provides an introduction…