Research Proposal: Access to Arts Education for Autistic Students

Arts education has played a significant role in my life and has enabled me to connect with people of all different backgrounds, abilities, and neurotypes. I'm so excited to be researching arts education for autistic students as a Laidlaw Scholar, as described in the preliminary proposal below.

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Abby Donaghue

Research Scholar, Tufts University

I'm an undergraduate research scholar at Tufts University double majoring in Biopsychology and Child Studies & Human Development, with a love for theatre and other performing arts. Youth development is central to my work both within and outside the academic field: I've served children in environments as diverse as arts education, athletics, academic studies, and after-school care. In particular, my work as a researcher and educator with The Drama Studio (a drama education organization based in Springfield, MA, USA) and as director of Tufts' LCS Tutoring have demonstrated to me the value of individualized, creative education opportunities for autistic and other neurodiverse youth, whose needs and skills often aren't fully met in traditional schools. My passions for performing arts and for working with neurodiverse communities drive me to study arts education access for autistic students as a Laidlaw Scholar. Through my research, I hope to better understand where and how autistic students access various forms of arts education, as well as what accommodations support a positive arts education experience. Feel free to email me if you'd like to chat about what this data could accomplish, or about your own work!