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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » When performing for autistic kids.. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ArtofDeception
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94 Posts

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I don't know if that's the right spelling, autistic? anyways, I might be performing at an event, doing strolling magicwhere most of the kids would have autism, since I've never been around any I don't know what complications this might bring, how should I approach this? I'm not even sure if it'll be a problem at all. any insight on this, and any advice will be appreciated, thanks in advance:)
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Skip Way
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There are different levels. I have several high-functioning autistic kids who frequent my restaurants and they're delighted with things that happen in their hands - such as the sponge bunnies, ladybugs and balls. While tactile effects like this have been the most successful for me, some of these kids can't handle being touched in any way - so, when in doubt, ask the teachers and parents for guidance.

Keep each effect short without rambling or convoluted patter. Use a lot of color if you can. I would advise against balloons or anything that could make a loud sound as that can scare some of the children. Get down to their level (height wise).

Some will want to touch and handle your props - to explore the feel. Expect this and be accommodating. Puppets are a huge plus.

Break a leg!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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francisngkl
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Singapore
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When you are there, please do not refer to or call them autistic, the more appropriate description is children with special needs. there was a thread discussing exactly the same issue.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=17&16

regards

francis
Carpe Diem, Seize The Day!
ColinDymond
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Gloucestershire, England
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I would contact the booker and ask for as much information as possible on the children and their abilities and dificulties. Autism covers a huge range of conditions from Aspergers Syndrome which is a high fuctioning form, some of the great thinkers are thought to have had this form of Autism, to children who are "locked in" and have little connection to the outside world.
The high thinkers might have all your tricked sussed and might even have better ways of doing them.
One of the features of Autism is that they might not give you any eye contact.

The more information you can get the better your show will be. The organisers should be happy that you have lots of questions, it shows you care.

I had a great letter from the mother of a child who is in a wheel chair. I performed my full 2 hour party at his 5th birthday. I had several discussions with the Mum to make sure that he was totally involved in the whole party, I worked out new variations on my games and I had all the children sit on chairs, not the floor.

Good luck, have fun. With a bit of preperation you'll have a great party.

Colin Dymond
http://www.aceofdiamonds.co.uk
themagiciansapprentice
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Essex, UK
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I've found it's important to be slick and funny. Draw them into the world you want to create and make sure that your cute puppet or bunny is available for stroking after the show. (yes, my niece is autistic, as are a far few children I've taught.)
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
David Thiel
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In addition to having performed for autistic kids, I have two grandchildren with autism. Here are some thoughts that may help:

1) The kids have varying degrees of autism. Some are high functioning...others aren't.
2) Just because they don't seem to be looking at you doesn't mean they are unaware of what's happening.
3) Don't expect laughter in the "right" places.
4) Don't assume they are stupid. They aren't. Far from it.
5) Loud noises can really bother them...err on the side of caution here.
6) Leave the snake can -- and any "jump out at you" surprises at home. These kids don't like things that suddenly scare them at all.
7) Be very careful about touching them. Suggest you use only high functioning kids for any volunteers you use.
8) Do NOT insist on making eye contact...and don't be freaked out if they don't make eye contact with you. Some can't.
9) Some kids will repeat what you say word for word...some will make strange sounds. Treat it all as 'normal' because it IS normal.

Hope this helps.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
2012 Posts

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My experience is with only two kids, one with Asperger's, the other high-functioning autism. Both seemed to have less sense of the implied boundaries with props. Be prepared for some grabbing. They are not meaning to be rude, it just doesn't occur to them that they are not supposed to grab the rope or the sponge bears.

-Patrick
Julie Carpenter
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Watford
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I do an awful lot of special needs parties.
I tend to ask the mum how old the child is, and roughly what age is he (or she) functioning at.
Its may seem to be a strange term but it is always well received and understood.
I then say that I'll pitch the party at the 'functioning' level and can move it up or down as the show goes on.

I find the Autistic kids are fascinated with the inside of my Rolon box so before the party starts I let them have a really good look and explain that the magic doesn't happen in the box, it happens when we do the show. - does it stop them during the show ?- no, not really, but Ive done my best.
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