Donate to the Spectrum Theater Program

Children with autism spectrum disorder received theater instruction and performed. They formed friendships with their peers and improved their social skills. Program highlights and results are presented here, along with a request for additional resources that are needed to maintain and improve the program in 2017.


In 2016, Empower began offering theater workshops to improve social skills in children, ages 7 to 15, who have autism spectrum disorder.  Students have the option of registering with a sibling or friend. Preference is given to Niagara County residents. read more



Select the participant's picture below to learn more about Spectrum Theater Program participants Brendan, Josh, and Owen.

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Cohort 1 Final Peformance: Dimensions
Cohort 2 Final Performance: Little Red Head


Thirteen children ranging in age from 7 to 15 and at all areas of the autism spectrum participated in both cohorts, held in the Summer and Fall of 2016.

During the theater sessions, participants experienced varying degrees of improvement in social skills.  Eye contact with others was a significant skill deficit for all in the beginning.  By the end of the each session, there was significant improvement for all in both focusing on the speaker and looking at the person to whom they were speaking. Interrupting the speaker also decreased for everyone. read more


Program success was attributed to the personalized approach taken; Robin Stevens got to know each family prior to the first class and modified lessons based on students’ individual needs and goals.

The instructors’ fluid and collaborative approach more


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. read more


The Arts Services Initiative of Western New York agreed to continue funding the program in 2017 with a $1,500 grant. However, this is $1,400 less than was provided in 2016 to cover the acting instructor stipend and supplies/materials. Empower is seeking this amount for these expenses in 2017. read more
Empower Inc.   9812 Lockport Road    Niagara Falls, NY 14304

(716) 297-0798

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Empower · 9812 Lockport Rd. · Niagara Falls, NY 14304 · USA

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