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Tune-in to NBC’s Nightly News This Evening

Tune-in to NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams at 6:30 p.m. EST today, Monday, October 3. Their popular “Making a Difference” segment will be on the autism-friendly performance of Disney’s The Lion King, which was held on Sunday, October 2. Autism Speaks will be featured in the NBC piece. The Theatre Development Fund (TDF), a not-for-profit performing arts service organization whose mission includes making theatre accessible for all audiences, piloted the “Autism Theatre Initiative,” to make theatre accessible to children and adults affected by autism, and their families. This was the first ever autism-friendly performance in Broadway history and our own Lisa Goring, vice president of Family Services, provided input and recommendations to TDF and Disney on what alterations could be made to the show to ensure an autism-friendly production for individuals with autism.

  1. Samantha
    October 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    It isn’t just autism, but the sensory dysfunction too. Things are too loud, then they are scared of the dark, and if there are flashing lights or very loud noises one of my kids will have seizures. We have not been able to go to a disney show ever, so i am wanting to see how well this goes over.Also, keep in mind, those of us who raise special kids, we don’t have bank accts full of money, so to afford something like this would be a treat. but is it worth it? Probably something we aren’t sure of at this moment. Then what we parents do when our kids make too much noise and are asked to quiet them down??? We do the sensory movie now with AMC theaters, and they are fine with the noise. I want to know what is expected of kids that are in their teens with the mentality of a small child, with no patience, makes noises, and is probably going to disturb others. And why is Disney just now coming to the rescue? We do appreciate businesses working with us where our special kids are involved, but is it at a price???? just wondering…

  2. Kerrie
    October 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    We were at this performance yesterday and it was amazing. We are thankful for the Theater Development Fund for putting this all together. Not quite sure why Autism Speaks is being featured in the piece. They were not listed as sponsors of this event. Maybe they are hoping for more donations to roll in. Bob Wright must need a new private jet for his non-profit organization, or a bigger Park Avenue office. If anyone sees this piece and wants to make a donation, make it to TDF and not autism speaks!!

  3. October 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I interviewed a mother who took her 8-year-old son, diagnosed with PDD-NOS, to the show. Here’s their unnerving, ultimately uplifting story:


  4. October 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    If you read my piece, you’ll see that while the performance was termed “autism-friendly,” they were acknowledging anyone with sensory issues. The majority of those on the spectrum do have sensory issues, but you don’t have to have an ASD diagnosis to have Sensory Processing Disorder. As for Disney, they weren’t involved. A new initiative by the not-for-profit Theatre Development Fund, which aims to bring theater to people with all types of disabilities, made this possible. They bought up the tickets and sold them at a discount–unfortunately, not deep enough for some, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  5. Kim
    October 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Thank you TDF for the very special day. I was truly impressed with all your attention to details. And a special thank you to all the volunteers! Me and my family had a great time.

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