Have you heard of “autism friendly” performances on Broadway? Individuals who are on the autism spectrum can be easily overwhelmed by loud noises, flashing lights, and lots of people. Unfortunately, Broadway musicals are often heavily laden with these and other effects. This means that it can be difficult for someone who has autism to participate in the fun. So in the spirit of including everyone, many theaters have offered “autism friendly” performances so those who may become stressed from the noise, lights, and crowds can still enjoy a musical.
I think this is so awesome because many people don’t realize how much of an impact a diagnosis can make on things other people take for granted. A boy who becomes overwhelmed with large crowds doesn’t get to enjoy a live performance of his favorite story. A girl with seizures isn’t able to watch a concert of her favorite band because of the strobe lights. We have subtitles for people with hearing impairments or descriptive audio for people with visual impairments. It is very easy to also have a set performance that includes less noise, flashing lights, and a place to get away from the crowd if needed.
The most recent Disney musical Aladdin has joined in on the fun and the West End production in London will offer it’s first autism friendly performance this summer. Disney on Broadway recently posted a video discussing the changes to the show so everyone can enjoy the spectacle of the stage. Check it out!