In the UK, musicians from the Orchestra of St John’s spend 40 days a year playing at schools for autistic children. Over 11 years, the OSJ has entertained over 35,000 autistic kids across Britain. The orchestra’s conductor, John Lubbock, has an autistic son and founded a charity called Music for Autism in 2001, to bring music to children in special schools.
‘One of the reasons I love doing this is that there is such joy in these schools and the staff are so caring,’ Lubbock says. ‘Every tiny increment of improvement is a massive celebration; there is no failure. You can’t ever fail. In what other part of life could you say that?’ [quote from The Telegraph]
via The Telegraph
Britain’s Oxford Playhouse recently put on the children’s musical ‘Spot’s Birthday Party’ with a difference. It was a ‘relaxed performance’ for autistic children, where they were allowed to come and go, and even make as much noise as they liked (some autistic children have involuntary verbal tics). What a breath of fresh air. I’m sure more can be done to bring the Arts to autistic audiences. Perhaps a special auditorium, with soundproof wireless headphones for every audience member, so everyone can enjoy the performance and still make noise?
Relaxed performances are aimed at anyone who would benefit from a laid back environment including people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, sensory or communication disorders, a learning disability or very young children who might be afraid of the dark. The atmosphere in the auditorium will be relaxed with the house lights on a slow fade system. Audience members will be free to come and go as they please throughout the show and make noise if they want to. There will also be a space where you can go and relax outside of the main auditorium in both our Foyer and Circle Bars. In advance of the performance there will be a visual story available on request from the Ticket Office, to help families and young people familiarise themselves with the theatre and performance before attending. [From the Oxford Playhouse website]