ROLE PLAY: Philip and Tammy Roach have developed lessons designed to help special-needs children.
ROLE PLAY: Philip and Tammy Roach have developed lessons designed to help special-needs children. Brett Wortman

Hope for dramatic change in children

PHILIP and Tammy Roach have a dramatic way of communicating with special-needs children.

The parents from Pelican Waters have founded Sikhona specialised drama courses for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Asperger's syndrome, intellectual impairment, autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment.

"Through drama, we are able to give these children another way to learn and express themselves," Mr Roach said.

Mr and Mrs Roach have a nine-year-old son with Asperger's syndrome and founded Sikhona in response to the limited after-school facilities available for bridging the gap in their child's learning and social behaviour.

After 14 years' experience of running her own theatre comp-any, specialising in educational shows throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales, Mrs Roach became a special-needs primary teacher at Meridan State School.

"For many years drama has proven to be an excellent learning tool to build confidence and teach social skills," Mrs Roach said.

"This is especially apparent in children with special needs."

The first course, Let's Talk, will start on November 28. It is recommended for children with Asperger's, intellectual impair-ment, speech and language difficulties, anxiety and low self-esteem.

"It's used to role-play real-life situations, but done in such a way and type of language, a child with special needs can understand," Mr Roach said.

The second course, Let's Play, will focus on the social behaviour of children with special needs.

Sikhona courses will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from November 28.

Junior classes for children aged four to eight, go from 4-5pm and intermediate classes for children aged nine to 12, from 5-6pm.

Each course runs six weeks and has a maximum of 15 children.

Courses will be held at the Caloundra Scouts Hall, cnr Lewis and Arthur Sts, Caloundra.

For more information, call Philip and Tammy Roach on 0403 710 351.