Emily Colson, author of “Dancing with Max,” recently shared a troubling experience she had at a movie theater in New England with her 22-year-old son who has autism. In the post “Darkness in a Theater” on specialneedsparenting.net, Emily details the negative reactions other moviegoers had to her son’s exclamations during the previews which ranged from excitement to overstimulation. She says she expected frustration from the rest of the theater but then things got worse. Following a confrontation with a man and woman, Emily had had enough and began to exit the theater with her son. That’s when the audience began to clap and make remarks about her son’s autism. Emily describes the situation as her own personal horror film. Read her full blog post here.
Situations like this are one reason why autism-friendly events are so important. In 2013 the Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theater Initiative held autism-friendly Broadway performances of Elf and Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark. In April 2013, Major League Baseball teamed up with Autism Speaks in a league-wide effort to recognize Autism Awareness Month. All 30 MLB Clubs raised awareness for the disorder during one home game in April. Many of the MLB Autism Awareness games throughout the league provided special opportunities and a safe, friendly environment for families and individuals affected by autism.
Watch the video below to learn about TDF's autism-friendly Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark performance from 2013.