Parents of children with autism or sensory processing difficulties might hesitate to take their kids to live productions, leery of how they might respond to the lighting, sound system and other stimuli. Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park offers performances that take those special needs into account.
The theater will give a sensory-friendly performance of “A Year With Frog and Toad” on May 29. It began offering special showings of all of its productions in 2009, after a parent approached Michael J. Bobbitt, producing artistic director, about wanting to bring her son, who has autism, to a play.
“I really want to give every child a chance to experience theater,” Bobbitt said. “So we brought in an autism specialist to look at the show and tell us what we need to adjust. They suggested that we keep the house lights up, lower the sound and have the actors pull back on their performances. It was a huge hit.”
Bobbitt is currently working with DC Autism Parents to further enhance the sensory-friendly plays. Adventure Theatre offers earplugs, and they are distributing social stories about a trip to the theater for parents to look at with their children before the show. Social stories, commonly used with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders, have pictures of a place they will visit and let them know what to expect from a new experience.
The sensory-friendly performances also have an American Sign Language interpreter for the hearing impaired.
Another event for special-needs kids:
For entertainment in the more immediate future, the Autism Society and the women’s football team D.C. Divas are hosting an autism-friendly night at the Divas’ game at 7 p.m. May 7 at Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex.
The Divas are designating an autism-friendly section in the stands and will broadcast autism awareness messages during the game. Discounted tickets are available with vouchers from the Autism Society, at $8 for adults; $5 for children ages 7 and up; free for ages 6 and under. For information, call 800-3AUTISM or visit http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/events/autism-friendly-night-with.html.
For more entertainment options, check out our coverage of AMC’s sensory-friendly movies.