Children with autism spectrum disorders find it difficult to express their feelings and to recognize others’ facial expressions and body language. You’d think that would make the prospect of performing in a play all the more daunting. Yet acting is exactly the thing Dorianne Brown believes can help children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (autism’s less-severe variant). Brown is the founder and director of A Dramatic Approach, a theater program for kids with an autism-family disorder. By asking participants to role-play characters in different social situations, Brown helps them develop much-needed interaction skills. (In a game called “I’m From Slovatnia,” for example, one student can speak only in gibberish, forcing him or her to communicate nonverbally.) “They’re practicing these social skills without even realizing it,” says Brown, who also runs a consulting firm serving families and schools with autism-spectrum children. Each workshop consists of several sessions of improvisation games and a final performance in front of family and friends. If you ask us, it’s an endeavor — and a director — worthy of a standing ovation.