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Open Spot Theater - Adaptive Theater for Students with Special Needs

Kalli Nowitzke/Kellison Kohler

The goal of this program is to allow full, active participation in a specially designed theater program tailored to the developmental and physical capabilities of our students with special needs.

Dexter High School currently offers theater classes. The rigor of the theater programs at the high school level is overly challenging and not accessible by our most impaired population. The required memorization skills, the reading level, direction following, fine motor skills and organization skills necessary to succeed in these programs are beyond the scope of what our students with higher needs are able to successfully achieve.
The proposed theater program, however, provides a platform with which we can meet students “where they are” and work to promote and encourage growth through active, hands-on, authentic experiences. Through this program, our most impaired population engages in acting and performing in an all inclusive environment. This program enhances student interaction with others and works to improve sustained focus and attention to tasks and the environment. Students are provided a sensory-rich experience that sets the tone for better physical, mental and emotional health, delivered by performing arts and theater professionals who specialize in working with people with special needs.
Many of the students with significant needs spend family time enjoying theater performances. However, they have not been able to star in their own performance. This will allow students to take the stage and show pride in their abilities to perform. For other students communication and performing is a challenge, but with the adaptive theater program individual needs are met with steps taken to overcome these barriers.

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