Two announcements hit the news cycle on Thursday, involving more features that will cater their presentation to appropriate levels for an autistic audience.
Sesame Street fans and their family members in Detroit can attend an autism-friendly rendition of "Sesame Street Live," the popular traveling show based on the PBS television series. The Detroit Free Press reports that Autism Speaks is hosting a Friday night show this week, with accommodations to assist an audience whose behaviors can often challenge the psyche of their caregivers.
A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Autism Speaks, the largest autism advocacy group in the country. Their representatives previewed the show to ensure elements would be suitable for an audience of autistic children, who are more likely to experience sensory overload than unaffected peers.
Broadway fans will have more time to make calendar plans. The Theater Development Fund announced that "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will be transformed to autism-friendly form on April 27 at Foxwoods Theatre in New York. The Spider-Man rock musical will be the fifth installment in their autism-friendly program, with each show producing rave reviews for providing an outlet to a group others would like to pretend does not exist.
"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" was chosen based on data collected from surveys at previous performances hosted by the Theater Development Fund. The performance will feature the usual accommodations, including a reduction in jarring light and sound cues along with quiet areas for spectators who do get overwhelmed.
The program's popularity led the Fund to offer advice for other theaters wishing to host their own autism-friendly performances. They also publish downloadable guides for autistic children, communicating what to expect during the show, including the plot, and the roles of various people and things in a theatrical production.
The increase in recognition among segmented audiences continues to answer a persistent concern over entertainment options among parents and guardians of autistic children. Some of autism's hallmark symptoms include sensitivity to harsh lights and sounds, and difficulties maintaining specific physical and audible gestures (sitting still and keeping quiet, which is often required for viewing films and performances).
The inability to adhere standard regulations can sometimes box families in, fearing an unfavorable impression if their autistic children do act out. The increase in frequency of autism-friendly presentations removes that barrier, since the entire audience shares a common bond, free of judgment.