Get to Know the Kennedy Center

Using the online pre-visit story tool

Get to Know the KC


What Is It?

While navigating through the app, answer a few questions to customize a pre-visit story featuring photographs, videos, and different levels of text unique to your needs. The app can be used by anyone to prepare for a visit but may be particularly helpful for young people with autism and their families. Use the “Map Location” button to pinpoint places on a map of the Kennedy Center, press the play button to have the story read aloud, and try the grid view to see what’s coming up in the story or to jump between slides. The site works on smartphones, tablets, and computers so you can build a story at home, at school, or while out and about. You can even print the story and share it online!

Coming Soon!

The first story is a look at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. New stories on all of the Kennedy Center theaters, upcoming sensory-friendly performances, and more will be added soon!

What Did You Think?

Did you give it a try? Do you build stories on your own, with your family, students, or friends? Tell us about it!

Accessibility Office
(202) 416-8727

About the Project

The Kennedy Center’s Office of VSA and Accessibility and ArtsEdge are working in collaboration with the Temple University Program of Occupational Therapy, the Ivymount School and Programs and other special educators, experts, parents, and community representatives to develop this online pre-visit story tool. This site is designed to meet the needs of and to be accessible to individuals of all ages with varying disabilities.

About Sensory-Friendly Performances

Sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all families with children with autism or with other sensory sensitivities.

Accommodations for these performances include:

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds;
  • Lights remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance;
  • A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience;
  • Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance;
  • Designated quiet areas within the theater;
  • Space throughout the theater for standing and movement;
  • Limited crowds and visitors at the Kennedy Center during the day and timing of the performance; and
  • Kennedy Center staff trained to be inviting and accommodating to families' needs.

Families will also have access to resource materials to prepare for their visit. Please contact the Accessibility Office at 202-416-8727 (voice/relay) or access@kennedy-center.org for more information.

To receive free notices about sensory-friendly performances and events at the Kennedy Center and in the DC metro region, please send your name and e-mail address to access@kennedy-center.org with "Subscribe Sensory-Friendly Alerts" in the subject line.

About Accessibility

The Kennedy Center strives to make its performances and facilities accessible to all our patrons and visitors. For additional information, please visit our Patron Services page or contact us at (202) 416-8727 or access@kennedy-center.org.

Other Opportunities

Visit the VSA Programs page for more information about opportunities for youth with disabilities to learn from, participate in and enjoy the arts!


Funding for accessibility initiatives at the Kennedy Center is provided by Mike and Julie Connors, the Rosemary Kennedy Education Fund, the U.S. Department of Education, and Volkswagen Group of America.

Education and related artistic programs are made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The content of this program may have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Sensory-friendly performances are part of the Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability programs offered by the Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility.

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  

ArtsEdge is an education program of

The Kennedy Center 

with the support of

The US Department of Education 

ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee
for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The contents of this Web site were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.
Unless otherwise stated, ArtsEdge materials may be copied, modified and otherwise utilized for non-commercial educational purposes
provided that ArtsEdge and any authors listed in the materials are credited and provided that you permit others to use them in the same manner.

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