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A Night at the Circus


On Friday evening, March 16th two dozen autistic youngsters and their families quietly filed into the deserted floor of the Verizon Center as the guests of Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus. Sitting in one of the circus’ three rings, they were treated to a sensory-friendly up-close-and-personal experience with a miniature horse, jugglers, clowns, tightrope artists, and be-spangled dancing girls.

Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus offers all regular ticket holders for their 2012 performance tours the opportunity to enter the arena an hour early and attend an “all access pre-show party.” Jenn Haber of Qorvis Communications, an aunt to two boys with autism, went one step further and arranged a private, autism-friendly encounter as a treat for local top team families and community supporters for the Washington DC Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Stefanye Washington of Prince George’s County, Maryland said “It was the first time my kids have seen the circus and they loved it!” Jodi Folta of Loudoun County, Virginia reported: “‘Mom, this is awesome!,’ my son said with a heart-melting smile. Our family had never been to the circus before. “

For more information on the circus, visit

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.