NASAA Notes: February 2015

February 6, 2015

Ohio: Arts and Autism Initiative

Gabe Turner, right, participating in a theater and autism workshop with Samantha Lyle, a speech therapist from Helping Hands Center, and Cary Johnston, the creative director of Shopworks Theatre Company. Photo courtesy of Kim Turner

 The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) began its Arts & Autism Initiative in 2012 after a constituent asked about arts activities in Ohio geared toward young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since then, OAC and VSA Ohio, the state organization on arts and disability, have partnered to better support this underserved community. By establishing an Arts & Autism Advisory Group and conducting focus groups, surveys and other research, they determined that there is little information about arts opportunities for people with ASD and numerous barriers—institutional, financial and geographic—to them. Subsequently, OAC and VSA Ohio have worked closely with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) to develop an on-line resource directory where cultural institutions can post and families can search for accessible arts experiences. In addition, they are organizing workshops for cultural institutions, teaching artists and families, and will publish an associated guide highlighting best practices for working with children on the autism spectrum. Going forward, OAC and VSA Ohio will continue to convene the Arts & Autism Advisory Group and will focus on creating a media plan to promote the initiative as well as the issues of arts accessibility, autism and creative careers. To learn more, contact OAC Accessibility Coordinator Kim Turner.
In this Issue

Executive Director's Column

State to State

Legislative Update

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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