How To Dance In Ohio – The Musical: A Gift of Autism Awareness and Representation – Finding Cooper’s Voice | Welcome to the Secret World of Autism

How To Dance In Ohio – The Musical: A Gift of Autism Awareness and Representation We went to see How To Dance In Ohio – The Musical. “Hey, I think I heard about that!” Was the most common response I received when I told people about our last minute trip just a few days before Christmas…… you probably saw it on the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade! “Based on the award-winning HBO documentary, HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO is a heart-filled new musical exploring the need to connect and the courage it takes to step out into the world.” The show opens with the seven lead actors excitedly bounding onto the stage welcoming the audience to the insanely gorgeous Belasco Theater. The first line out of their mouths started my stream of tears that lasted through the final bow. “If you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person! You are now meeting seven autistic people!” The applause and cheers from the audience in support of the cast was overwhelming for my autism mama heart. They continued on by informing the audience of what and where cool down spaces could be found in the theater, that sensory bags were available for use, and also talked about lighting and fog use because “it’s nice to know what’s happening, isn’t it?”. The story reminds audience members how hard individuals with disabilities work every single day to navigate a world that wasn’t built for them. It reminds parents like me how much our children need us to help them by teaching all of life’s “how-to’s”, but while not assuming our choices should take precedence over their preferences and choices. I cheered for every moment that let parents like me see hope and representation on that stage for unique individuals like our children. It was eye-opening, hope giving, and beautifully inspiring. The cast was beyond talented and I’ve been streaming the songs on repeat since last week. At the end of the show I whispered, I hope this show reaches every person who walks through the doors to see that autism doesn’t limit someone’s potential and makes people realize individuals like my son are in this world all around us. After the show we stayed near the stage door to tell everyone how great the show was and to ask for a few photos, at that moment I knew the awareness this cast and show are creating……. Everyone clapped quietly, waited for the cast to offer to sign their playbill, asked if photos were ok, and kept a respectful volume to not overwhelm. These individuals are creating a world where everyone is seeing autism in a new and accessible way, and I honestly can’t wait to see the show again before June of 2024. What a gift! Written by Amanda DeLuca of Jackson’s Journey, Jackson’s Voice

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