The Kentucky Center for the Arts is expanding our efforts to be an accessible and inclusive organization. The Kentucky Center Accessibility Services just completed its fourth season of partnering with StageOne Family Theatre to provide Sensory-Friendly performances and as we consider the future, we want to be sure we are considering what else may assist the needs of families with children and of adults on the spectrum.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism), refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Not only can these headphones assist children and adults with Autism Spectrum disorder but they can also help those with other sensory sensitives. Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming.
After obtaining feedback from people in the community and considering what we can do to continue our commitment to access and inclusion, we are now offering noise reduction headphones for all performances at the Kentucky Center and the Brown Theatre. They are adjustable to fit both adults and children. All you have to do is stop by Coat Check at either venue and ask for a pair of the headphones. They will be checked out to you and after the show is over, simply return them to Coat Check as you are heading out the door.
We hope that offering accommodations such as this to patrons on the spectrum will allow them to enjoy events without the social anxiety and triggers that can often occur in crowds and with loud noises. It is our aspiration that by providing the noise reduction headphones those in our community who can benefit from them will have more options when planning social activities and become more engaged in the vibrant arts community Louisville has to offer.