Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Comedy Classes at Second City for Teens with Autism!

The classic Second City comedy club in Chicago is expanding comedy classes to offer teenagers with autism the chance to learn the ancient traditions of comedy!
As understanding grows about autism, some businesses and community groups are expanding traditional activities to include teenagers with autism. The Second City comedy club in Chicago is just one of these businesses. Second City has teamed up with Lisle-based Giant Steps to grow its Improv for Autism program. Both Second City and Giant Steps believe that improv comedy classes could help teenagers with autism boost their communication skills.
We know (improv) changes people's lives, said Kelly Leonard, executive director of insights and applied improvisation at The Second City. We've seen it over and over again.
Second City’s vice president of education programs and training centers, Abby Winters, said that the program began in 2013 for both teenagers and adults. This is just one of the clubs many “wellness” programs which it currently offers. They have a variety of other classes under their wellness umbrella, including classes for people with Parkinson’s, senior citizens, and people with anxiety.
Improv teaches one to think more broadly about different situations, said Blythe Corbett, a pediatric neuropsychologist and associate professor at Vanderbilt University. A lot of our children with autism have very rigid, concrete patterns of thinking. So, the idea of engaging in improvisational exercises allows a child to think more expansively.
Some of the exciting comedy actors who began at Second City are Bill Murray, Chris Farley, and Tina Fey just to name a few. Many other successful comedians call Second City their home. It first opened for comedy shows in 1959 and is one of Chicago’s most well-known comedy clubs. Feel free to share how different classes have helped you with autism by commenting below or sharing the article.

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