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Quarterly Global Newsletter Q1 2018

Music for Autism International

Q1 2018

Music, Dance, Art, Sport/Multi-Media, Education


Q1 2018
Editors Note

This newsletter is designed to highlight autistic performances across the above components which occurred globally during the quarter noted. We have attempted to limit the reading time for each entry to less than 30 seconds.

We also attempted to provide visual links wherever possible.  


We hope you find this useful and please do share it widely. We also keen to accept input from any of our readers. 





BBC Television – Pablo Series (UK)

BBC recently completed its first season of Pablo which is on the Cbeebies television network. The show is based on real-life experiences by those with autism.  The voices of all on the show are those with autism.  The animated characters Pablo creates through drawing each have an autistic trait.  Due to the success of the pilot first season, a second season is being planned along with further development of educational online materials relevant to autism for use in schools as well as for parents.


In January, there was a panel from the show which included executives from BBC, the producer, writer and two autistic contributors. One key message from the panel was the almost exclusive use of autistic personnel, rather than neuronormal,  throughout the management and cast.


A new Channel 4 documentary asks, ‘Are You Autistic?’; Violet Venn (Metro-UK)

During the making of Are You Autistic, a new documentary from Channel 4 which was aired in late March, 750,000 people completed an online survey to assess how many might unknowingly be on the autistic spectrum. And the results were pretty surprising. Of those who completed the survey, 87,000 had results indicating that they could well be autistic – a figure that equates to more than one in ten of the participants.  More than half of them were women, which is astounding when you consider the generally accepted male to female diagnosis rates for autism. Figures vary widely across studies but, in 2015, the National Autistic Society was providing support to autistic adults at a rate of three males to every one female.


‘Are You Autistic’ featured trainee human rights lawyer Georgia Harper and artist Sam Ahern, both of whom were discovered to be autistic. Also examined were follow musician and rapper

JP Horsley, formerly of R&B group Big Brovaz, and mum of three Jo Hoskins as they go through the assessment process to find out whether they, too, might be autistic.


Autism Video Game (Australia)

Brad Hennessey, a 17-year-old Australian teenager has autism single-handedly created a video game “An Aspie Life”, from Brad’s own personal experiences of living with Asperger Syndrome. He was 16 when he started making   An Aspie Life and is now about to start University. Everyone with autism is a little different. Brad did not create the game to be offensive in anyway, only trying to explain what it is like to live with, from his point of view.

"An Aspie Life" is an experimental adventure game that deals with the topic of Asperger's Syndrome. The game is centred around having to live with autism. The players actions in the game will have to adapt to how an autistic person sees the world. As every element of this game recreates how some people with autism perceive the world, therefore all forms of sound, graphics and interactions are intentional. Final release was scheduled for the end of March.





Pentatonix joins Kaylee Rogers for 'Hallelujah' (Northern Ireland/NBC Television – USA)

In March, Eleven-year-old Kaylee Rogers flew from Northern Ireland just to sing on Little Big Shots. Kaylee has found that singing helps her manage her autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her music teacher, Lloyd Scates, accompanied Kaylee on the trip and helped explain. “With the autism she’s quite shy, and when she sings it sort of takes over, and she doesn’t think about anything else,” he said. “And since she started singing more … in school, she’s started to take part in more and more things in school. It’s quite spectacular.”


Kylee caught the world’s attention with an earlier school performance of “Hallelujah,” which went viral. After hearing Kaylee’s version of the Leonard Cohen song, producer of American TV show Little Big Shots, Ellen DeGeneres invited her on to sing with one of her favourite acapella singing groups, Pentatonix.


Band member Scott Hoying said, “Kaylee’s just such a sweet girl. Once we heard her story, we knew we wanted to sing with her. ‘Hallelujah’ is one of our favorite songs to sing, and the second she started singing, it just brought tears to all our eyes. She is a truly special person and a special talent.” Kaylee and Pentatonix put on a wonderful performance and even got Steve Harvey’s feet tapping.


Pathlight School Harmonica Group (Singapore)

The Pathlight Harmonica Group performed at the Park Royal Theatre in order to raise funds for music enrichment lessons for individuals with special needs.  Included in the performance were songs designed for audience participation.


Autistic Youth Musician, Los Angeles (USA)

In January, as part of Concert to Celebrate Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Kenneth Brown, II, age 18 performed as Principal Trumpet as part of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) & The Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Los Angeles. Kenneth attended Berklee’s Sumer Music Camp in 2017. For more information, please refer to the Video:





Outsider Art Fair, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York (USA)

One booth in this art fair featured works by New Zealand autistic artist Susan Te Kahurangi King, known for her turbulent mash-ups of pop-culture (toys, cartoon characters, labels). Also presented was an archive of Ms King, started by her grandmother and continued by her sister Petita Cole.


Autistic Children Tie-Dye Art Now on Yayasan Pahang's 2018 Calendar (Malaysia); By T.N. Alagesh

In February, the Kuantan branch National Autism Society of Malaysia's (Nasom) move to introduce the multi-coloured tie-dye artwork for children is paying dividends. A vibrant compilation of colourful artwork by 12 autistic children from the centre here is now prominently featured in Yayasan Pahang's 2018 corporate calendar.


Nasom Kuantan Parents Teachers Association chairman Norazaemi Ibrahim said the centre had introduced the programme as part of their therapy programmes last year and the tie-dye concept became widely popular among the children.She said Nasom have been working closely with Yayasan Pahang over the years by organising various programmes to create awareness on autism. "This is the first time for Yayasan Pahang and Nasom to collaborate on a project.


"Nasom is grateful to Yayasan Pahang for providing the children with an opportunity to have their artwork published in the calendar this year."The children themselves are excited to see their artwork in print. "When we introduced the programme for the vocational classroom last year, we noticed that the tie-dye concept helped develop a passion for the children and they became very engrossed with colours. Most of the children are talented when it comes to artwork."


Norazaemi said the tie-dye concept began as a "trial and error" before the children's creativity and passion saw them developing talent in incorporating their arts on tablecloths, shawls and drink coaster. "The tie-dye technique taught at Nasom is part of our living-skill programme, in which the children can develop talent which can help them earn a living in the future. "They will be moving into adulthood and this programme will certainly be a huge help. Besides that, we also want to create greater awareness on autism among the public".





INAS World Alpine & Nordic Skiing Championships (Poland)

The International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS) hosted the 2018 INAS World Alpine and Nordic Skiing Championships which were held in  Zakopane, Poland, from 27 February – 2 March. The Championships will feature athletes with an intellectual impairment (II1) as well two new trial groups: II2 – for athletes with a more significant intellectual impairment and II3 – for athletes with high-functioning autism.


Around 60 athletes from 10 countries were expected to compete at the Suche ski resort and on the trails of the Centralny Osrodek Sportu Zakopane. Known as the ‘winter capital of Poland’, Zakopane is located in the southernmost region of the country, near the border with Slovakia. It is the second time the city has hosted the Championships, following on from 2016. Alpine skiing featured slalom, giant slalom and super-G. Nordic skiers competed in the cross-country sprint, short and long distance races as well as a 3x2.5km relay.


Zakopane 2018 was organised by the ZSS Sprawni-Razem, the Polish Union of Sport Associations for People with Intellectual Impairments.  Marc Truffaut, INAS President, said: “INAS is excited to work with the ZSS Sprawni-Razem once again on the biggest competition on the alpine and Nordic skiing calendar for athletes with intellectual impairments.


“We are pleased that for the second time we can host in Poland the best skiers with intellectual impairments,” said Dariusz Mosakowski, ZSS Sprawni-Razem President. “We also hope that the organisation of the World Championships in Zakopane will contribute to the popularisation in Poland of sport for people with intellectual impairments”.





NYU Steinhardt Hosts First Ever Autism Inclusion Conference (USA)

NestCon: The Conference for Autism and Inclusive Education involved participation from educators, school administrators, parents, clinicians and therapists, advocates, and others gathered for the first ever conference of its kind. Bridging research and practice, the conference explored how to better understand and support students on the autism spectrum.


The NYU ASD Nest Support Project is one of several community-focused programs serving special populations hosted by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s MetroCenter. The NestCon 2018 was spearheaded by Lauren Hough Williams and Aaron Lanou, Co-Directors of ASD Nest, and Kristie Patten Koenig, ASD Nest Principal Investigator.


Dr. Stephen Shore spoke on the power and strengths of interests in ASD individuals. Other speakers included David E. Kirkland, Executive Director of NYU Metro Center; Peter Vermeulen, senior lecturer and consultant at Belgium’s Autisme Centraal and Brenda Myles, Associate Professor, Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. The ASD Nest model is also being used internationally, in Aarhus, Denmark where it was recently implemented.


UK House of Commons/The Autistic Adult Choir/NYU (UK)

Dr. Stephen Shore presented his thoughts comparing and contrasting education and support for people with autism on an international basis to MPs and to members/friends of the Autistic Adult Choir who also contributed to the conversation. This was Dr Shore’s initial meeting at the House of Commons, although he has presented over 45 nations/ Governments on autism. The presentation was followed by a private performance of The Autistic Adult Choir also involving students from New York University.


University College London (UK)

During Dr Stephen Shore ‘s January visit to London, which was sponsored by NYU, he co-taught a two-week study abroad course on using strength-based strategies for supporting students with autism at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education at the University College in London (UCL).






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