By Dominique Wald
University of Idaho’s Actors Striving to End Poverty and Families Together are teaming up to offer free acting classes for children with special needs.
Classes start at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Forge Theatre and will last six weeks. The registration deadline is Friday.
Although this is the first year the classes are being offered, Families Together Executive Director Denise Wetzel said she’s already planning for the future.
“I’ve already started the discussion for expansion and even offering these classes for adults with special needs,” she said.
Wetzel said she’s also been surprised that people outside of Moscow are signing up. So far she’s had children from Lewiston and Potlatch register for the weekly classes.
Theater activities can be used to teach non-verbal behaviors and gestures, eye contact and conversation skills, which can be helpful for children who have special needs, Wetzel said. Those same activities also provide practice in formulating appropriate responses in conversation, suitable greetings and recognizing non-verbal facial expressions.
“Working with ASTEP has been a great collaboration,” Wetzel said. “There is so much interest in using theater to help children with disabilities. They’re going to have a chance to perform and a lot of kids love that.”
Those interested can download a registration form online at www.familiestogether.org.