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CSD 240 Performing Together Group Photo

Take a class that will change your life

CSD 240: Supporting Communication through the Performing Arts was first introduced in Spring 2017 as CSD 497: Special Topics.

The course brings together students from three different academic colleges, as well as Lifelink PSU, to:

  • Learn improvisation, dance and drumming from professionals in each field;
  • Create performance numbers for each of these forms;
  • Examine how these forms can be used to teach specific academic and communication skills;
  • Participate in a grand end-of-semester public performance and reflection on what you learned; and,
  • Have fun while learning!
This video highlights the experience of students enrolled in CSD 240: Supporting Communication Through the Performing Arts in Spring 2022 at Penn State, University Park, PA.

What You Can Expect

CSD 240 allows students to acquire skills, knowledge, and experiences about the ways in which performance activities such as improvisation, vocal performance, and dance can promote valued communication and developmental outcomes for individuals with and without developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The course is explicitly designed to include students from the Lifelink PSU program who have intellectual disabilities, who learn with and alongside enrolled students. This structure directly emphasizes the interconnections between students with and without disabilities, as well as between the knowledge bases and theoretical approaches brought by specialists in the performing arts and in diverse areas of disability services. 

Although the units change year to year, we cover a range of performance types including improvisation, vocal performance, West African Dance and Drumming, Salsa, dance, etc.  We also always have a Master Class with professional visitors who are touring through the Center for Performing Arts. 

CSD 240 is approved for use in General Education as a GS-Social and Behavioral Science.

All majors and skill levels are welcome to participate!


The course is co-taught by Krista Wilkinson, professor of communication sciences and disorders, College of Health and Human Development and Michele Dunleavy, associate professor of dance, School of Theatre.

Images from CSD 240

CSD 240 Students from Spring 2020
=CSD 240 Students from Spring 2020
=Students participate in a Master Class with Step Afrika!
=Students participate in an improvisation activity
=Students in CSD 240 practice drumming
=Group photo of CSD 240 students from Spring 2022