To the People Behind This Sensory-Friendly Performance of ‘Wicked’


Earlier today my family — I mean my entire family — watched a Broadway show together.

No real marvel for most families, but for our family this is a huge deal!

Lyla, my daughter, is a belter. Broadway musicals speak to her soul. But due to timing, cost, performance intensity, and having a brother with autism who is sound averse, seeing musicals as a family is a rarity. The exception is when Theatre Development Fund (TDF) sponsors sensory-friendly programs. Then we prepare our computers, brace ourselves, refresh a thousand times and pray we will get seats, because then we know, though the cost is huge, it is meaningful time spent together as a family. It connects our children, allows them to feel important, valued and to see other families with brothers or sisters with autism. It fosters respect of differences and values, and also a community of loving and affectionate families, all there with the same purpose: to enjoy a Broadway show together. It is also important to help our son with autism improve his ability to navigate atypical situations.

We have scored tickets to three of these events. Our first production was the Lion King, the second production was Matilda and this, our third, was “Wicked.”

Each time we gather at one of these events, seats are taken, people are given squeeze-stars, headphones are offered, fidgets are tossed about and given to everyone interested, and people are wonderful. Screaming is not shushed, standing during a performance is not unheard of, people run in and run out for sensory breaks, and during this performance the beautiful mom sitting in front of us said: “It’s okay for your boy to push on the seat back. I get it.”

I get it. That is the feeling that buzzes in the air, carries into our hearts and makes me cry, every time.

This time it was so much more. I did not only feel it from the parents and the beautiful TDF volunteers; it seemed to emanate from the actors themselves. It was truly magical.

My gratitude overwhelms me still. As I write I fight tears. This story and the actors’ performance in “Wicked” speaks to our children; it speaks to us as their parents. It talks about acceptance. But more, it talks about a theme I have spoken of in the past. “Wicked” is about how much people who seem different have to offer society, offer us in our lives. It is a theme that has echoed through my entire existence. It is a theme of acceptance and love, a reminder to learn from and find the good within, to change what you think is impossible and to be more.

What is my point? We are so grateful to the creators of this story, and for the incredible actors who seemed to truly embrace this beautiful audience and find even greater inspiration to be bigger and better for this show.

To all the citizens of Emerald City, you were brilliant! You changed lives, inspired so much good, so much love and showed tremendous generosity.

Your curtain call brought us to tears. Holding those stars in your hands, you showed something so important: You demonstrated solidarity, connection, an unequivocal depth of compassion, love and acceptance.

There are no more words. I cannot express the depth of my gratitude. Thank you for this unique, wonderful, inspiring experience. May others learn from your generosity of spirit!

family on the street
Faith and her children.

Follow this journey on Rantings of an ADHD Mom and on Facebook.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us about a time someone in your community went above and beyond (or did the exact opposite) for you or your loved one with special needs. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Inside My Meltdown

Today I had a meltdown. Today’s meltdown wasn’t as dramatic to witness as the meltdowns I have suffered in the past, but nevertheless it was hard for both me and my carer. She struggled to understand what it was like for me, so I tried to explain. I said it’s a bit like a bottle [...]

When Taylor Swift Gave My Son With Autism a Life-Changing Gift

Our family is completely astonished that Taylor Swift would do something like this for a complete stranger. My son Jacob was diagnosed with autism at a young age. He often tries to wander from safety. He may dart into the street or try to run straight to water — and it would be a challenge to ask for help [...]

When Many of Your Child’s ‘Firsts’ Happen With Therapists

It could be said that one of the many joys of parenthood is witnessing “firsts.” Mothers often long to witness their child turn over, crawl, walk, eat “yucky” peas and blurt out, “Mommy.” My journey as a mom is a bit different. Many of my son Drake’s firsts have happened when I am not around. Of course, many [...]
hospital hallway

New Program to Help Kids With Autism in the Emergency Room

A trip to the emergency room is stressful enough, but when you add in the extra sensory sensitivity that children with autism often experience, it’s that much worse. With this is mind, Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, is piloting a new program aimed at reducing stress for children on the autism spectrum who visit the emergency [...]