This is something that touches my heart deeply, but poses a bigger question, why don’t live theater and movie theaters do performances and shows for kids with sensory challenges more often? First of all, this post is inspired by Kelly Hunter from the Royal Shakespeare Company, in conjunction with the Ohio State University. A big shout out goes to them. You see, they are doing special performances of The Tempest with and for kids with sensory challenges in mind (their specific focus is autism). You can read more detail about it here.
They are doing special performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest designed around kids with sensory challenges. Small audiences, integrated kids from the audience, playing sensory games, using Shakespeare’s patented iambic pentameter, adjusting the ambiance and settings for more sensory challenges kids all create a unique environment to engage and communicate with some of these kids with special challenges (many kids with autism have sensory issues, some do not. And there are MANY people with sensory challenges that don’t have autism). But the bigger question here is why we don’t see this more often???
I’ve seen the occasional movie theater do a special performance for kids with sensory challenges or who are on the spectrum, but this is not a regular thing. I mean, how hard can it be to modify one or two shows? Sure, it takes more work and a bit more time, but that effort is worth it when you realize what you have done for these kids, and you see the joy in their faces. And don’t mistake some of these kids “not” showing the joy or apparently “zoning” out while the show is going on, they take in and see WAY more than you or I will ever be able to comprehend. Their minds and bodies have learned to adapt to their challenges and have created amazing skill sets of gathering knowledge from their settings that we don’t understand. You’ll be surprised at how much they will get from these performances if you just believe in them. If you know of any other places doing performances, specifically designed for kids with challenges, please let me know. This has to he more than a one time thing for our world to continue to be a better place.