Lessons Learned

Enrollment was below the target (13 actual vs. 40 targeted), but all 3 instructors reported that it was challenging to manage and evoke positive change in 8 to 9 students enrolled in each cohort.  This was especially true in the second cohort which consisted of younger students who were more severely affected by autism.  Future cohorts should procure additional instructors and/or limit student enrollment to assure outcomes are achieved.

The space in which final performances were held was too small to hold all attendees comfortably.  A larger space should be procured for future final performances.

Due to low enrollment among Niagara County residents, students from across Western New York were accepted into the program. One student, who participated in both cohorts, traveled from Hamburg, attesting to interest and need for similar programs in other Western New York counties.

Although offered the opportunity to enroll a sibling/friend, most parents said that their children had few friends, and that making friends was a desired outcome of the theater program.  During the first session, a female participant was supposed to attend with her older sister, but the older sister opted not to participate.  A set of boy/girl twins participated in the second session, but since both of them are on the spectrum, the scenario did not pertain to this objective.  While this option still should be offered in future cohorts, our experience is that it is unlikely to be taken advantage of.