Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Silmser, Lisa


Theatre is often used as a tool in the classroom to target specific skills in language arts classes. More and more, it is being woven into curriculums outside of the language arts classroom to explore multi-disciplinary teaching. Theatre arts have the potential to reach a wide array of students in order to increase academic achievement, engagement/attainment, and social-emotional skills. Not only can theatre arts improve skills for students as a whole, but it can positively impact students with learning disabilities and special needs, too. Research indicates through empirical data that students generally show improvements in academic achievement, engagement and confidence levels after being exposed to theatre arts methods. For students with disabilities, results were similar. However, the qualitative data collected in a large majority of studies suggests that there are significant changes for students with disabilities in behaviors, confidence levels, and social-emotional skills after theatre exposure. Continued research is needed to truly determine how theatre can impact the education and learning of students with disabilities, but as teachers continue to experiment with methods that are tailored to student needs and abilities, they may find that theatre is an adequate tool for differentiating learning in the classroom.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis