School & Family Magazine Newstand Frisco ISD November 2017 - Page 14

Theatre Director Jonette Dalfonzo works with student Mark Doerr, who was cast in the lead role of Gaston. Theatre Program Caters to Audience with Special Needs Wakeland High School is the first Frisco ISD school to modify a performance to serve students and adults with sensory sensitivity. The bright lights and loud noises of a theatre production can be overwhelming for people with autism and others with sensory needs. That’s why the theatre program at Wakeland High School is planning some adjustments to an upcoming performance of the musical “Beauty and the Beast.” “We want everyone to be able to ‘be 14 | FOCUS our guest,’” said Theatre Director Jonette Dalfonzo, referencing a song from the popular Disney movie and musical. “That means making a few changes to the for- mat and design of the show to be sensi- tive to people with sensory needs.” It’s the first time a Frisco ISD fine arts program has made a special effort to re- spond to the needs of students and adults who may have strong reactions to lights, noise or sudden movements. The Wakeland theatre program is working with the FISD Special Education Department and Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI), a national non-profit dedicated to making theatre more accessible, to present one sensory-friendly matinee in January 2018. Other showings will be