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Theatre for Children With Special Needs

April 24, 2015

theatre for children with special needs

This post is brought to you by AngelSense, GPS and voice monitoring to improve the safety and well-being of children with special needs.

CLICK HERE to watch parents share their AngelSense experience.


When the Autism Society and AMC films partnered together for Sensory Friendly Films, they were filling an important need – the chance for children with special needs and their families to enjoy movies on the big screen, in a setting specially designed for their comfort and enjoyment.

Every month, a safe and welcoming environment greets kids with special needs and their loved ones at local movie theaters across the country. Bring your own snacks! Ignore the “Silence is Golden” admonishment at the beginning! Singing, laughing and movement – all encouraged and enjoyed by the audience. No judgment here, just a safe space to share a fun family activity.

Find your city and state on the AMC website!

Beyond movies, Broadway and other live event venues have gotten in on the act – providing special performances of major shows adapted for children with special needs, removing another unnecessary barrier for kids to enjoy the arts.


tdf angelsense


In 2011, the TDF Accessibility Program launched the Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) with a performance of the huge hit “The Lion King” for children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their families. The event was such a hit that the ATI now consults with venues all over the country – including The Old Globe, Hartford Stage, The Hobby Center, Big Apple Circus and the Pittsburgh Ballet – in order to create welcoming and memorable experience for those on the autism spectrum or with sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments are made to the shows, limiting jarring sounds and strobe lights, and the lobby is staffed with autism specialists in both quiet and activity areas.

Visit the TDF website for more information, schedules and to sign up for their mailing list.

Our own Maylene Klein has taken advantage of both the movie and theatre accommodations with her family and had wonderful experiences.

She shared this with us:

“As a parent you don’t have to worry if your child jumps, screams, claps, flaps, laughs loud. It doesn’t bother anybody – we are all in the same situation. People who attend are very thoughtful and understanding – you don’t get stares or nasty comments. And then you leave the place with a great feeling! You were all able to enjoy a nice outing with your family, without any hurtful events that can ruin your whole day.” She added, “Both programs make it very easy for the parents.”

In Maylene’s experience:

1) Lights are dimmed not completely dark

2) Sound is not as loud

3) You can bring your own treats

4) TDF has play stations for children who are overwhelmed they can take breaks

5) TDF gives out sensory toys when you arrive.

Looking for more live events that offer sensory friendly performances? Check out the websites for such attractions as Disney on Ice and Ringling Brothers directly, or go to Ticketmaster, which will show you a calendar of sensory-friendly events in your area!

Not a movie or theatre fan? Check out Major League Baseball. Many teams offer sensory-friendly evenings, Autism Awareness ticket deals and other accommodations.

If you have a local venue or event you’d like to share, please drop a link or line in the comments section!


This post is brought to you by AngelSense, GPS and voice monitoring to improve the safety and well-being of children with special needs.

CLICK HERE to watch parents share their AngelSense experience.

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