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posted: 3/22/2013 1:54 PM

Fox Valley Rep to offer programs for autistic kids

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  • The Fox Valley Repertory Performing Arts Academy will begin offering a new program for students with autism and developmental disabilities.

      The Fox Valley Repertory Performing Arts Academy will begin offering a new program for students with autism and developmental disabilities.
    Courtesy of Fox Valley Repertory

 

Submitted by Fox Valley Repertory

Fox Valley Repertory Performing Arts Academy begins its seventh year with a new program for students with autism and developmental disabilities. In July, students can explore the performing arts through puppetry, drama and music while developing social skills and communication.

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FVR Education Manager Tracy Whiteside and instructor Morgan Madison have designed these classes so that each child's needs are met. Madison will encourage 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," Madison said.

"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."

These new summer camps will be an addition to the several summer camps that take place June through August at Fox Valley Rep's home, Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. Enrollments are now being accepted online at www.foxvalleyrep.org/education or by calling (630) 443-0438.

The camp for students with autism ages 6 to 16 will be from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 1, to Wednesday, July 3. Tuition is $135. This class uses drama, movement, dance, singing and puppets to develop self-awareness, self-perception, social skills, and nonverbal communication.

For the comfort of students, they 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.

The camp for students with developmental disabilities age 6 to 16 will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, July 1, to Wednesday, July 3. Tuition is $135. This class will meet the needs of each student as they begin to explore the world of performing arts through the use of tactile activities, puppetry, music, and fun. A parent or caregiver will be required to attend the class with the student.

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