Making Connections Through Puppetry
In this multi-day intensive, professionals working with young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (targeted at ages Pre-K through 2nd grade) are invited to learn about using puppetry within a professional setting. Teachers, therapists, counselors, doctors, nurses, and others working with neuro-diverse children are welcome to attend. Puppetry can be used as an amazing tool for interaction, pretend play, communication, de-escalation, joint attention, and more.
Led by professional puppeteer Lindsey "Z." Briggs, participants will learn the basics of performance and technique as well as discuss ways to utilize puppets to make connections with children diagnosed with autism and utilize them when working with children with ASD. Each participant will receive their own puppet to personalize and take home.
Can be done in-person or virtually.
In August 2021 Yale Child Study Center was published online by the International Society for Autism Research, "Study finds children with autism respond well to puppets."
In 2020 Making Connections Through Pupperty was awarded a Kennedy Center VSA Contract and in 2019 the Foundation was awarded a grant from Next for Autism to expand on this work.
How it works
There are two offerings of the workshops:
- A professional development workshop series for educators, counselors and therapists on how to use puppets when working with children with autism, developmental delays, and other special needs. Puppetry can be used as a bridge for communication, and as a tool for building important emotional relationships. In addition the use of puppets have proven effective in emotional regulation, motivation, sustained attention, de-escalation, and more. All participants will learn the basics of what makes a puppet come to life, how to use puppets as a tool in their work with students, how to make their own puppets and more!
- Puppetry for Parents is a workshop offered to parents of children with autism, developmental delays, special needs, and/or neuro-typical children. Puppetry can be used as an effective tool in the home environment to enhance communication, be a bridge for building familial relationships, de-escalate stressful moments, motivate and more. All participants will learn the basics of what makes a puppet come to life, how to use puppets as a tool in their day-to-day home life and how to make their own puppets. Every participant will receive their own custom puppet that they can begin to use immediately with their family.
In 2016 The Jim Henson Foundation began offering these puppetry workshops to Counselors, Therapists and Educators in NYC's Department of Education District 75 schools, specifically for those who are working with children with autism.
About The Company
WonderSpark Puppets (Z. Briggs and Chad Williams) Founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo Z. Briggs and Chad Williams, WonderSpark Puppets perform for New York City audiences of all ages. Together with Jenny Hann and Christina Stone, they perform over 300 shows a year and have toured internationally.
WonderSpark is proud to continue the tradition of non-moving-mouth hand puppets, aka "Mister Rogers style".