Civilisation lecturer is to undertake research that will help children on the
autism spectrum develop social understanding and affective engagement.
Posted: 4 October 2016
Susan Deacy talking about the project in Warsaw
Dr Susan Deacy from the Department of Humanities is part of an
international team of scholars awarded €1.5 million funding to explore
the role of classics in children's and young adults' contemporary
The five year project brings together six classical
civilisation scholars from universities across five continents including
Africa and Australia who will all be developing different research
strands relating to this theme including children’s literature and
Dr Deacy, who won a National Teaching
Fellowship for her work in finding sensitive ways to teach difficult
subject matters, will undertake research on autism and classical
Her research will begin with an academic study of the
research relating to autism and ancient myths which will be used to
develop workbooks and guides for special educational needs (SEN)
teachers who work with children who are diagnosed on the autism
Dr Deacy said: “Stories from the ancient world have
the potential to be extremely useful tools in helping children and young
people express themselves and develop social understanding. This could
be because the child has a structure to work within as stories have a
beginning, middle and end, but they also have the freedom to apply their
own meaning to the story.
“However this is a largely undeveloped
area when it comes to the benefits it can have for children who have
been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The guides I will develop with
help teachers use stories such as the story of Medusa, who is turned by
the goddess Athena into a horrible monster whose look could turn others
into stone, as a tool to help the child express themselves. I also hope
that these resources will be useful for children with other disabilities
and learning differences such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder and Dyslexia.”
Dr Sonya Nevin, also from the Department
of Humanities at Roehampton, is also a member of the team. Her project,
Animating the Ancient World, will see her produce four video animations
which are created from the actual scenes which decorate ancient Greek
vases. Other outcomes from the project will include three international
conferences, student workshops and a research database.
funding comes from the European Research Council's Excellent Science
scheme, designed to help support researchers at the stage during which
they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme.
The team is led by Katarzyna Marciniak of the University of Warsaw and
will begin in October 2016.
The University of Roehampton is ranked third in London for Classical Civilisation
(The Guardian University Guide 2016).