Capstone Project Title
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD, OTR/L, BCG
Caroline Umeda, PhD, OTR/L
Children with sensory processing differences have “reduced participation in recreational and community activities compared to children with both typical development and other developmental disabilities” due to their difficulties with social communication, and strict social settings (Giserman-Kiss et al., 2020). Sensory-friendly theatre programs aim to dismantle social participation barriers for individuals with sensory processing differences by creating a relaxed theatre experience that includes preparatory materials, environmental modifications, and specialized training (Umeda, 2017). We implemented a pilot sensory-friendly performance of Willy Wonka, Jr. in collaboration with youth actors at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, CA on February 13th, 2022. Approximately 80 total tickets were sold, half to the sensory-friendly community and half to the general public. Our sensory-friendly performance offered preparatory materials of a social story, environmental modifications including dimmed house lights, zones (movement, tech, chill out, quiet) within the house, relaxed behavioral expectations, and specialized training for the youth actors including an educational video about sensory-friendly performances. Program evaluation data were collected through post-performance surveys for audience members and performers, interviews with audience members, and a debrief with the theatre program director. Audience members indicated that they were likely to attend another sensory-friendly show and valued the accommodations, meanwhile suggesting a more thorough explanation of the purpose and possible noise, and relocation of the zones. Our program illustrates occupational therapists’ ability to collaborate with theatres and contribute knowledge on sensory processing differences and environmental modification to increase community cultural arts participation for people with disabilities and their families.
Bautista, Chanelle; Cho, Alyssa; Cunanan, Jazmine; Marino, Ariana; and Ramos, Miko, "Promoting Cultural Arts Access through Sensory-Friendly Theatre" (2023). Occupational Therapy | Graduate Capstone Projects. 45.