Arts groups develop sensory-friendly programs for autism community

Posted on: April 27, 2015

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” writes Brian Wise on Sunday (4/26) at New York radio station WQXR. Recently, several arts organizations, including orchestras, have begun adding “performances for special-needs children…. In 2011, the New Jersey Symphony received $425,000 grant from the Getty Foundation to start an outreach program in schools and community centers for children and adults with autism. After piloting chamber music concerts in Mercer County, it expanded last year to Essex County, and now involves 12 schools….. Holly Hamilton, a violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, developed a sensory-friendly program at the Kennedy Center. Her son Clark Patterson, 31, has an intellectual disability as well as visual and hearing impairments. But he also enjoys going to his mother’s concerts at Wolf Trap…. ‘What surprised me is how open the kids are into the music,’ she said in a phone interview. ‘Some of them are nonverbal but their eyes light up.’ The Kennedy Center began giving autism-friendly performances in 2012 and now presents four or five such performances annually.”

Posted April 27, 2015