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Matthews Playhouse to Offer Kids with Disabilities in the Spotlight a.k.a. "KiDS Camp" This Summer

Matthews Playhouse is proud to once again offer "KiDS” Camp July 17-21, 2023! This camp is for children ages 10-16 on the autism spectrum and/or with a cognitive or developmental disability.

Students in the 2022 KiDS Camp Session Learn to take a bow.

Due to popular demand, the Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts will once again offer “Kids with Disabilities in the Spotlight”, or “KiDS” Camp, July 17-21, 2023! The half-day performing arts camp program was created last summer by Matthews Playhouse Board Member and Actor, Amanda Mooney, M. Ed. for children ages 10-16 on the autism spectrum and/or with a cognitive or developmental disability. "KiDS camp incorporates theater games, props, music, and movement to help camers make friends, build confidence, express emotions, and use their imagination, ”says Mooney. "It's a wonderful opportunity to explore the arts while strengthening social skills."

Multiple studies have linked theatre education to stronger communication skills, ability to follow directions, teamwork, organization and meaningful social interactions. Matthews Playhouse Executive Director, Sarah Baumgardner, agrees. “We’ve heard from multiple families who have children with autism, sensory sensitivities, or other social, learning or cognitive disabilities,” she says. "As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, it is important that we create a more inclusive and comfortable arts experience for all.”

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT is “KiDS” Camp and WHO is it for?

“KiDS” stands for “Kids with Disabilities in the Spotlight” and is catered specifically for children ages 10-16 that are on the autism spectrum and/or have special needs, specifically delays in social skills, communication and peer interactions due to a cognitive or developmental disability.

WHO is the Instructor?

“KiDS” Camp will be led by Amanda Mooney, M. Ed., a special education teacher at St. Ann Catholic School who has been teaching children with special needs for over 20 years. Amanda is also a familiar face in the Charlotte Theatre Community and a regular performer on the Matthew’s Playhouse stage. Amanda has been seen in multiple Matthews Playhouse productions including SCROOGE! THE MUSICAL, RAINBOW FISH, and PINOCCHIO.

WHEN & WHERE is it?

“KiDS” Camp will be held at The Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts July 17-21, 2023 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm.

HOW Do I Know if “KiDS” Camp is Right for My Child?

Please answer the questions you are comfortable responding to.

1. Does your child have a diagnosed disability and/or an IEP?

2. What are your child’s main areas of need?

3. What does your child LOVE to do?

4. What are your child’s favorite things to talk about?

5. What are some things that your child does NOT like? (Are there any sensory needs to be aware of?)

6. What assistance would your child need with selfcare? (bathroom needs, eating, dressing, fine motor skills-writing, cutting, etc.)

7. Is your child able to read? If so, about what grade level are they reading?

How Large is the Camp?

The camp session will be limited in size (maximum of 15 students) in order to provide each child the attention and instruction they require in order to succeed.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost to attend all half-day Summer Camp sessions is $185. Scholarships are available and are based on financial need. Applications are due before May 1, 2023. Visit to learn more.

Interested parents with questions can also reach out directly at


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