The Autism Spectrum

A cognitive neuroscientist explores autism, Asperger's syndrome, and related disorders.

Autism Awareness Day at the U.N.

World Autism Awareness Day 2009

Yesterday I had the true honor of attending Autism Awareness Day at the U.N. where they screened the movie Autism: The Musical and we were treated to a live performance and panel of children with autism and their parents. 

 

First, I just want to tell you how touching the movie is.  You may think the title is funny (I did when I first heard it), but it is about a program called the mirical project in L.A. which works with children with autism and at the end of the project (6 months) the kids put on a musical theater performance.  These are kids all across the spectrum from Asperger's to nonverbal autism and everything in between.  The movie chronicles not only the project and the kids, but the families and the stressors and joys that come out of raising a child with special needs.  I laughed, I cried, and we all cheered through the whole movie. 

 

The live performance was a special treat and I am clearly biased, but I was most impressed with a boy named Adam who played the cello.  But, I said I was biased because Adam participated in some of my research projects when I was in grad school in California. 

 

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Across the board the thing that stood out was that the miracle project gave these kids one thing that they did not get at school and that was unconditional acceptance and love for their unique talents and special needs. 

 

I was also thrilled to see the number of people in the audience and the amount of support for such a project.  The U.N. is dedicated to bringing awareness of autism to the world.  As they understand that it is through awareness and loving understanding that we can begin to value the gifts that children on the spectrum bring to this world and help them to live full and happy lives.

 

Clearly not a "controversial topic" but I just wanted to share my thoughts about a truly moving and heartwarming experience.

Lindsay M. Oberman, Ph.D. is a cognitive neuroscientist studying autism spectrum disorders.

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