Broadway recently held its first ever autism-centered performance, debuting the idea with "The Lion King." There are scads of articles online and video clips from local stations, but I wanted to add one more.
Being a teacher, I've had some experience with children on the autistic spectrum. Granted, I teach in a regular education setting so any students I might work with would be "higher functioning," but experience is experience. We've taken field trips to plays, had performers come to school, had students perform in front of their peers, and even shown a video or two (dare I say that!). There have been loud noises and flashing lights (fire drills, need I say more?). Sensory overstimulation can cause anxiety. I don't like loud unexpected noises (thunder), and I don't like unexpected flashing lights (lightning). While Broadway may be something spectacular and a special treat I enjoy, you can imagine the anxiety it could cause for someone on the autistic spectrum.
I teach my students to be accepting of everyone. I teach my students that everyone is different and people have different needs depending on who they are, regardless of any "special needs" they may or may not have. I teach my children to help others and be there for them, especially when things are upsetting or challenging. Kudos to the Theatre Development Fund for reaching out to these adults and children. With a few tweaks (lighting & sound), theatre-goers were able to enjoy a full production of "The Lion King." Check out the article on playbill.com, complete with a video clip.
Best part - I've read future performances are in the works. Happy theatre-going!