Autism is a complex neurological disorder that can have a profound impact upon the development of a child who has it. Autism can also have a profound impact on the members of a family (parents and siblings) into which a child with autism spectrum disorder is born.
The stark reality of both of these things was powerfully portrayed in the current (May 31-June 16) Theatrikos performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I cannot have been more impressed and even thankful for their accomplishment. The performance was fabulous.
I was the special education administrator in the 10th largest school district in the United States (Orlando metropolitan area) for a decade and the education of children on the spectrum of autism was one of my responsibilities. Although the range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral characteristics of individuals on the spectrum can vary dramatically, all individuals can have deficits in their communication and language skills, levels of emotional disruption and anxiety, behavioral extremes and even savant-like (superior) skills in areas such as math, architecture, music and astrology. I have worked with hundreds of children with autism spectrum disorder; hundreds of families of children on the spectrum; and hundreds of teachers, therapists and administrators working to educate them well.
Although the general public’s understanding of autism has improved significantly over the past two decades, there is still limited comprehension but the public on what autism is. Thankfully, those attending the current performances at Theatrikos cannot help but gain a significant increase in their knowledge and understanding of this complex human condition.
All of the performers, the directors and staff were excellent. I would especially like to compliment Jason Craig for his powerful and realistic portrayal of a 15-year-old who has autism and Audrey Young, who verbally and non-verbally played the role of his teacher magnificently. The role of his mother and father were also powerfully played by Becky Daggett and Rob Peters. I cannot thank you all enough. Anyone interested in attending a performance should make every effort to. There are three performance left, I believe, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.
JONATHAN C. McINTIRE