The Second City Training Center is launching its unique Improv for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) curriculum this spring, offering both teens and adults with ASD a unique 12-week mentoring and development experience that includes improv games and exercises to help with the exploration of relationships and social cues.
As Andrew Alexander, CEO and executive producer for The Second City, points out, the program is a natural offshoot of the company's already robust training offerings. “We are so thrilled to be expanding our training programs to reach a new audience with Improv for ASD,” noted Alexander, "The launch of this class falls right in line with our company's broad initiatives to make improvisation accessible to all. We truly believe in the powers of improv to increase social skills, confidence and play at all ages... I welcome our new students into the Second City family.”
The Second City's overall slate of educational programs is based on the idea that Improvisation in all forms improves wellness through encouraging teamwork and collaboration, building confidence, tying success to a model of listening and support of others, and creating a safe space to take a risk and encourage creativity. Improv for ASD is fine-tuned to help students on the autism spectrum break through various social barriers. The classes were originally offered as a piloted program in the summer of 2013. Further developed in collaboration with the Newmark School in New Jersey, these one-of-a-kind improv classes are facilitated by skilled Second City instructor Nick Johne.
The program's therapeutic value goes far and away beyond what one might expect. According to psychologist Dr. Robert E. Daniels of the Chicago Children’s Clinic, "The improv workshops and camps perfectly complement what we do in therapy, providing an outlet for creativity and an opportunity to form strong friendships. Second City’s approach is consistent with the most cutting-edge research in positive psychology.”
Summer Camps for teens ages 15-18 will launch in Chicago and New Jersey this summer.
Classes will focus on ensemble and team building to help with the exploration of different relationships and social cues. Improvisational games used in this class will teach the students skills such as accessing emotions and storytelling. This will be done in a safe and fun setting where the students can explore and challenge themselves.
The Second City Training Center has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world. Registration is open now for Friday classes starting March 7. Classes are 12 weeks for 90 minutes per week. For more information, visit www.secondcity.com/training/chicago.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts