SEATTLE - Autism now affects one in 88 children. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also shows Autism is five times more common among boys than girls.
An alternative school in Seattle is seeing tremendous breakthroughs in its autistic students through a unique partnership with a children’s theater.
The Academy for Precision Learning is dedicated to teaching autistic kids and typically developing students.
The school shares a building with a children's theatre group known as "Broadway Bound." Teachers noticed the autistic kids gravitated to the music.
Four years ago, APL’S Executive Director, Jennifer Annable and Broadway Bound founder, Jimmy Nixon came up with an idea to encourage the autistic students try out for the musicals.
Soon, they began seeing tremendous breakthroughs in speech, social development and confidence.
"Families come and watch child in costumes, with mic’s, under the lights on stage, doing a full play, and are blown away. It’s as if something that was taken away has just been given back and you didn’t see it coming it’s incredibly moving,” said Dixon.
“A young student that has a hard time putting sentences together and verbalizing himself to to see him on stage perform recite lines was one of the proudest moments I’ve had as a parent,” said Tom Verteetis, whose son Peter is an autistic APL student.
Peter has starred in four Broadway Bound musicals, including playing the role of Mr. Bumble in the musical “Oliver.”
APL has 90 students. All of them participate in Broadway Bound productions on-stage and behind the scenes.