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How the Blue Man Group made my daughter with autism's day

This guest post is by Eleanor Rosatone who works two full-time jobs: one in the School of Communication at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts and one at her home in Woburn, Massachusetts, raising her fifteen year-old son George and her ten year-old daughter Charlotte with her husband Louie. Charlotte was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5.

My daughter Charlotte and I attended the Blue Man Group sensory-friendly performance this past Saturday in Boston. We went to The Lion King last fall for that sensory-friendly performance, and Charlotte did okay, making it to the intermission before we decided to leave. For the Blue Man Group show, I took the opportunity to purchase front-row tickets, as I hoped it would allow Charlotte to really become immersed in the show.

Before the start of the Blue Man Group show, Charlotte was quite nervous. The show boasts a lot of different types of art performances and, as a pre-caution; the occupants of the first few rows are given ponchos to protect them from errant paint and food splatter. Charlotte did not want to put on the poncho, and I was worried that she would become upset about getting some paint on her if she didn't. We waited a while as we saw all the other attendees put on their ponchos, and I convinced her to put hers on just before the show started.

The show uses a live band, and she was a little startled by the loud music. Fortunately, I had a pair of headphones that she uses with her iPad, and they worked like a charm in reducing the harsh noises. Early in the performance, Charlotte was also the lucky recipient of one of the paintings the Blue Men created on stage. It really helped her come out of her shell, and, by a few minutes into the show, she was enjoying the performance very much, laughing at the humor and dancing to the music. We stayed all the way to the end and left with smiles on our faces.

Knowing these sensory-friendly performances are available has opened new doors for our family. The tickets are more affordable than the regular performances, which have personally allowed me the ability to take a chance on something I would have typically steered away from attempting. Additionally, the “judgment-free” environment enables me to comfortably talk to my daughter during the performance as well as provide her a snack or get up and move around, if need be.

Not every show we try is going to be as successful as our experience at Blue Man Group, but that's okay. That's called life, and we are going to do as much as we can to embrace all of it!

As part of a year long partnership with Autism Speaks, Blue Man Group will donate a minimum of $25,000 toward autism awareness efforts and research to benefit families affected by autism.

Interested in seeing one of their next sensory-friendly performances? See if they are coming to your city here.

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.