LI Children’s Museum Presents Sensory Friendly Performances in April

. March 17, 2015

The Long Island Children’s Museum will kick off Autism Awareness Month with sensory-friendly performances of the Experiential Theater Company’s “The Adventures of Perseus.” Evening performances on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2, 2015 (World Autism Day) will be reserved exclusively for families with children on the autism spectrum and with other sensory sensitivities. Performances are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sensory Friendly Performances of "The Adventures of Perseus" at LI Children's MuseumLong Island Children’s Museum Theatre is part of a select group of theaters and organizations across the nation that provides barrier-free theater for families with children on the autism spectrum. The Theater Development Fund (TDF) has been at the vanguard of these efforts since 2011 with dedicated performances of popular productions including “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins,” “Spiderman” and “Matilda The Musical” on Broadway. This production of “The Adventures of Perseus” follows the guidelines established by TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative and was developed with input from Linda Eisen, Education Administrator of ACLD (Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities) Kramer Learning Center.

In explaining the importance of this initiative, LICM President Suzanne LeBlanc notes, “The LICM Theater plays a vital role in the Museum’s educational mission by developing children’s imagination, improving language skills and bringing history, science and literature to life.” It is important, she adds, that these experiences … and benefits be accessible to all families on Long Island. “Many families with children on the spectrum have told us they are hesitant to bring their children to any type of theater experience because they risk being judged. We want these families to experience the joy of the performing arts in a setting that is supportive, comfortable and convenient.”

What makes a performance sensory-friendly?

• Lower sound levels, especially for startling or loud sounds
• Guests are free to talk, leave their seats and move freely during the performance
• House lights in the theater are left on low throughout the performance
• Designated Quiet Room adjacent to the Theater
• Trained staff and volunteers
• Judgment-free environment, welcoming to all

In conjunction with the production, LICM will provide various resources to ensure that families are comfortable to enjoy the production and their trip to the Museum, including:

• Downloadable Social Script
• Seat selection
• Take-home, themed “fidgets” presented in Theater

These accommodations and resources were used successfully in 2014 when LICM launched sensory-friendly programming with the presentation of “Aesop’s Fables.”

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Category: Museum News

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