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updated: 3/6/2013 1:56 PM

Fox Valley Rep's Performing Arts Academy announces new program for youth with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

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  • Provided by Fox Valley Rep.

    Provided by Fox Valley Rep.

Audra Sybert, Fox Valley Repertory

FVR Performing Arts Academy begins their seventh year with a new and exciting program for students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Coming this July, students can explore the performing arts through puppetry, drama, music while developing social skills and communication.

Together FVR Education Manager Tracy Whiteside and Instructor Morgan Madison have designed these classes so that each child's unique needs are met. Madison hopes to bring her eight years of successful experiences to the Fox Valley area, encouraging each child to explore their own creativity, and, heighten their basic skills while doing it.

"When I first started working with developmentally disabled children, my theatrical background began meshing with the formal training I had received. I found the children to be receptive to artistic discovery and it saddened me that they had no opportunities to explore this fascinating new world," says Instructor Morgan Madison. "I convinced the education director at a local theater company to allow me to start a program for children with special needs. After the first day of class a mother came to me in tears and told me that she saw her son make eye contact for the first time in his six years of life. That same child began speaking for the first time during our time together. The arts is a safe space where all children can develop skills that will aid them throughout their life. Theatrical exploration has amazing benefits for children who are developmentally disabled, and they will have a fantastic time on this new and exciting expedition!"

These new summer camps will be an addition to the several award-winning summer camps that take place June through August at Fox Valley Rep's home, Pheasant Run Resort. Enrollments are now being accepted online at or by calling 630-443-0438.

CAMP: Students with Autism

AGES: 6 to 16

DATES: July 1-July 3, 2013

DAY: Daily, Monday-Wednesday

TIMES: 9:00am-12:00pm


This class uses drama, movement, dance, singing and puppets to develop self-awareness, self-perception, social skills, and non-verbal communication. For the comfort of our students we will be using social stories and visual schedules to help introduce them into the world of the performing arts. A parent or caregiver will be required to attend the class with the student.

CAMP: Students with Developmental Disabilities

AGES: 6 to 16

DATES: July 1-July 3, 2013

DAY: Daily, Monday-Wednesday

TIMES: 1:00-4:00pm


This class will strive to meet the unique needs of each of our students as we begin to explore the world of performing arts through the use of tactile activities, puppetry, music, and of course lots of fun! A parent or caregiver will be required to attend the class with the student.

"We are excited to launch this new program, and hope that this is just the beginning of our special needs offerings," says FVR Education Manager Tracy Whiteside.

About the FVR Performing Arts Academy

The Fox Valley Rep Performing Arts Academy is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching and educating the Fox Valley area by offering the most extensive programs of youth classes, camps and workshops year round. The award-winning academy continues to feature some of the Chicago area's most respected teachers, directors, actors and musicians.

The Fox Valley Rep Performing Arts Academy is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and is sponsored in part by Delnor Express Care and Kane County Chronicle.

For more information, visit, call 630-364-0550, or email Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Resort is located at 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, IL. Additional theater information may be obtained at

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