The Kennedy Center’s Office of VSA and Accessibility and Digital Learning worked in collaboration with the Temple University Program of Occupational Therapy, the Ivymount School and Programs and other special educators, experts, parents, and community representatives to develop this online pre-visit story tool. This site is designed to meet the needs of and to be accessible to individuals of all ages with varying disabilities.
This application was created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to help introduce audiences to live performing arts events. It can be used by anyone to prepare for a visit to the Kennedy Center, but may be particularly helpful for young people with autism or disabilities that cause sensory sensitivities.
About Sensory-Friendly Performances
Sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all families with children with autism or with other sensory sensitivities.
Accommodations for these performances include:
- Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds;
- Lights remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance;
- A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience;
- Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance;
- Designated quiet areas within the theater;
- Space throughout the theater for standing and movement;
- Limited crowds and visitors at the Kennedy Center during the day and timing of the performance; and
- Kennedy Center staff trained to be inviting and accommodating to families' needs.
Families will also have access to resource materials to prepare for their visit. Please contact the Accessibility Office at 202-416-8727 (voice/relay) or email@example.com for more information.
To receive free notices about sensory-friendly performances and events at the Kennedy Center and in the DC metro region, please send your name and e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Subscribe Sensory-Friendly Alerts" in the subject line.
The Kennedy Center strives to make its performances and facilities accessible to all our patrons and visitors. For additional information, please visit our Patron Services page or contact us at (202) 416-8727 or email@example.com.
Visit the VSA Programs page for more information about opportunities for youth with disabilities to learn from, participate in and enjoy the arts!
Funding for accessibility initiatives at the Kennedy Center is provided by Mike and Julie Connors, the Rosemary Kennedy Education Fund, the U.S. Department of Education, and Volkswagen Group of America.
Education and related artistic programs are made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.
The content of this program may have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Sensory-friendly performances are part of the Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability programs offered by the Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility.
Kennedy Center Education
Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by David M. Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program.
Generous support is also provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
The content of these programs may have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education but does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Gifts and grants to educational programs at the Kennedy Center are provided by A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation; Sandra K. & Clement C. Alpert; Annenberg Foundation; Bank of America; Bender Foundation, Inc.; The Honorable Stuart Bernstein and Wilma E. Bernstein.
Michael F. and Noémi K. Neidorff and The Centene Charitable Foundation; CMA Foundation; DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; Estée Lauder; Exelon; Ford Foundation; The Gessner Family Foundation; GRoW @ Annenberg and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Family; Harman Family Foundation; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Herb Alpert Foundation; The Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc.; iTheatrics; The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; Jim and Heather Johnson; The Karel Komárek Family Foundation; the Kimsey Endowment; The Kiplinger Foundation; The King-White Family Foundation and Dr. J. Douglas White; Natalie and Herb Kohler and Kohler Co.; Laird Norton Family Foundation; Macy's; The Markow Totevy Foundation; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; Linda and Tobia Mercuro; Little Kids Rock; The Meredith Foundation; The Millennium Stage Endowment Fund; The Morningstar Foundation;
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Myra and Leura Younker Endowment Fund; NAMM Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Newman's Own Foundation; Nordstrom; Oath Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Irene Pollin Audience Development and Community Engagement Initiatives; Prince Charitable Trusts; Rosemary Kennedy Education Fund; Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A. J. Stolwijk; Rosenthal Family Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Small; The Stella Boyle Smith Trust; Target; The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates; The Volgenau Foundation; Volkswagen Group of America; Dennis & Phyllis Washington; Wells Fargo; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; and generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas. Additional support is provided by the National Committee for the Performing Arts.