Students With Autism Get A Halloween Circus

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The circus is in town and Wednesday, performers held a special Halloween party for a group of students.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey pulled out all the stops for these students, who are all living with autism.

The teens, from Mon Valley School, were invited to Consol Energy Center for a special behind the scenes look at how the circus works.

“A lot of times, families can not bring their individuals with autism to an event like this, like the circus, so it’s a great opportunity for them to see what goes on,” said Lisa Maloney with Autism Speaks.

The event kicked off with a demonstration of the clowns applying their makeup.

“The clowns, they are pretty funny,” one student said.

Then the real fun — the students were able to dress up in costume.

It’s something 13-year-old Michael Shoup was really looking forward to.

“Do you feel like a ring master?” KDKA’s Sarah Arbogast asked him.

“Yeah! Yeah, totally,” he said.

Although Shoup has been to the circus before, many of the students haven’t.

Often, individuals with autism struggle with large crowds and lots of noise — the circus atmosphere can be overwhelming.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for them,” Mon Valley Teacher Danielle Clouse said. “It’s really unique especially on Halloween.”

The students and teachers say this is definitely a Halloween they won’t forget.

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