Frisco Theatre Students Adapt Plays for Special Needs Audience

Elementary school students with special needs took a unique field trip in Frisco Wednesday.

Around 200 Structured Learning Class students at elementary schools across the Frisco Independent School District boarded buses to Wakeland High School for a performance of "Schoolhouse Rock LIVE!"

The show was specially adapted for students with autism and sensory issues.

"They always enjoy the music and the live action, so it's really important to get them out," said Norris Elementary School SLC teacher Jo Christensen.

The volume of the performance was adjusted so it's not too loud and the house lights were only slightly dimmed. A "cool off" room was set up just outside the theater where SLC students who need a break can sit quietly in bean bag chairs and play with stuffed animals.

Christensen said the SLC students are learning how to take in a show and get to enjoy an activity with the rest of their peers.

"The more exposure they have, the better they're going to be able to handle it and function," Christensen explained. "Then they're going to desire that instead of just staying within themselves and that's what we want so that they have independent skills and can live a good life."

Wakeland High School Theatre Director Jonette Dalfonzo said this is the second year high school students have adapted their performance for a special needs audience. Dalfonzo said she plans to continue the program with new plays every year, saying the young actors and students learn an important life lesson.

"It's such a cool use of theatre that they know it's more than just entertainment and getting applause," Dalfonzo said.

"They may not all turn out to be actors, but they're going to go out into the world knowing they can adjust their world to bring everybody into it," she added.

Contact Us