10/04/2011 08:55 am ET | Updated Dec 03, 2011

The Lion King's Autism-Friendly Production

The vibrant sights and sounds of Disney's "The Lion King" on Broadway is what "NBC Nightly News'" Brian Williams describes as an "explosion for the senses," a sensory experience that has been largely prohibitive for families of children with autism. That is until a theater group called the Theater Development Fund recreated the 14-year-old production, toning down just 7 lighting and sound effects for children who are sensitive to loud noises and bright lights.

"One of the things that's important is that this be a real performance, that it isn't watered down," Victoria Bailey, executive director of the Theater Development Fund told MSNBC.

In addition, the group had 30 autism educators on hand for the first-of-its-kind performance, passing out relaxation techniques, ear plugs and toys to the families in attendance.


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