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No Show for Disabled Girl

Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

Samantha Torres thought a theater outing would be just the ticket for giving her 5-year-old disabled daughter, Nadia, a thrill. But instead, the pair got embroiled in a drama of a different kind, the Boston Herald reports. Torres, of New Bedford, Mass., says she and Nadia got thrown out of the show they attended. The reason? Torres claims it was because Nadia was giggling and making humming noises.

Nadia can’t speak due to a chromosomal abnormality. However, when she’s very happy, she’s capable of making excited sounds. In this case, it meant squealing, chortling, and humming along to a performance of Beauty and the Beast at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island on June 2. Torres says their entire party—including herself, Nadia, a nurse, and Nadia’s other child—ended up being ejected. “They did not ask me to leave. They told me I had to leave,” she says.

The theater, however, aruges that isn't exactly true. P.J. Prokop, its marketing director, says that Nadia was indeed distracting fellow patrons, but was offered different seats, not given the boot. “It’s the theater’s responsibility to try and ensure that everyone can hear and have a good time,” he explained.

Torres insists they were never offered the chance to switch seats. She said she and her party were already near the back of the vast theater, which can accommodate more than 3,000 people.

Whatever the story, Torres seems interested in making sure nothing like it ever happens again. She says she’s going to accept an offer from the theater to conduct sensitivity-training lessons for ushers. She's also going to be teaming up with the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council to prepare guidelines for theaters on how to make disabled patrons feel welcomed.

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