Autism Choir

Big Break! Singing & Drama Camp

In partnership with the Geneva Centre for Autism and EmotePlay Inc., we have developed a music-based program to support the development of social communication in teens/preteens living with autism. This program was developed with the objective of supporting socio-emotional development in a fun and engaging context. This program features choir singing, rhythmic games, acting, and exercises designed to provide practice with imitation of vocal, facial, and gestural expression. These exercises are further supported with technology assisted feedback provided through the use of the Big Break: The Acting Game. Our second run of the program happened in July and August, 2018 with sponsorship from the Telus Greater Toronto Area Community Board. For more information on the first run of our program, click here!
The Big Break! Singing & Drama Summer Camp is an exciting camp where participants go through a curriculum based program led by professionals in musical education and autism. The one week camp involves a fun-filled morning involving interactive drama and musical games with a focus on increasing participants’ confidence in their ability to perceive and produce emotions in an expressive manner.
As of Winter 21019, we have great things in the work for Big Break! The updated app will feature new scenes and actors, catering to multiple levels of verbal ability (adding facial expression only, just noises, 1-word phrases, 2-word phrases), age group (5&under, 6-8, 9-11), and emotional skills. It will also feature a brand new catalog of dynamic emotional expressions. Get ready for Big Break 2.0, coming soon!

Parents were invited to view the final musical performance from the campers. They performed songs together, as well as presented their favourite Big Break app movies they made.

17156167_1873037226246059_7337582297704999540_nThe Big Break App is a spin-off of a web-based game that our lab recently developed for use with children on the autism spectrum. Using an iPad, users view and then imitate emotional songs performed by actors, while doing their best to preserve facial and vocal expression. The app tracks a user’s intonation and facial animation and compares it to the actor’s performance. The performance is given a score, which provides some additional motivation for personal development. Individual feedback provided by the app is intended to supplement feedback provided in the choir setting, allowing for fine-tuning of expressive capacity.