Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicago Children’s Theatre Play Created for Children with Autism

The Chicago Children’s Theatre will present “Red Kite Round Up,” from February 1-20, 2011, in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Choral Rehearsal Room at Millennium Park. “Red Kite Round Up” is a 40 minute multi-sensory adventure developed especially for children and early teens on the autism spectrum. As part of the immersive theatre experience, guides will take 10 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders on a digitally simulated outdoor trip where they can chase butterflies, hike trails, star gaze and more. The kids are actually encouraged to move, laugh, talk, sing and interact with specially trained teaching artists.

The space at Red Kite is designed to be friendly to children on the autism spectrum, with plenty to touch, see and hear. For example, participants can experience the sound and wind of the forest, feel the gentle spray of a river, pet fuzzy newborn chicks, and sing songs around a camp fire, among other things.

Social Stories are provided in advance in one of four formats, so participating children will know exactly what to expect. Once they arrive for the show, they will work with guides that are specifically trained to be responsive to each child who will work to accommodate the sensitivities of the child they are working with. Each child will interact with guides on their own terms, and any choice made by a child at “Red Kite Round Up” is celebrated and accepted. How cool is that!

“Red Kite Round Up” is the brainchild of Jacqueline Russell, founder and artistic director of the Chicago Children’s Theatre. She developed the project after over 1o years of working with children with autism as a teaching artist. Russell continues to work in classrooms with students with ASD, in addition to leading professional development workshops for educators and artists, and giving lectures and demonstrations for medical specialists, parents and educators.

“Read Kite Round Up” provides a wonderful opportunity to share a theatrical experience with a child on the autism spectrum where s/he can enjoy being a kid.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.theredkiteproject.org/home.html, send an email message to redkite@chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call Julia Beck at (773) 227-0180 ext. 15.

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