Autism Acceptance Month: Supporting People With Autism Through Music

autism acceptance month

For Autism Acceptance Month, Center Stage Music Center wants to take a moment to recognize how impactful music can be for people with autism. Previously known as Autism Awareness Month, in 2020, the Autism Society of America replaced the “Awareness” to “Acceptance,” marking a key shift in the vocabulary surrounding autism. Rather than regarding autism as a disease to be potentially “cured,” autistic advocates are pushing for greater acceptance of people with autism in society.

Studies have found that music can improve communication, help with socialization, improve cognition, and help with emotional difficulties in children and adults with autism. At Center Stage, we believe in both the importance of music in children’s early development, as well as music’s various therapeutic uses for all ages.

Center Stage's piano/voice instructor Gwyn Fernandes, who is currently attending school for music therapy, tells us:

“It has long been recognized that music has healing properties that can positively influence emotion regulation, mental health, behavior, physical capabilities, and numerous other aspects of the human condition. Given its tremendous potential in a therapeutic relationship, the evidence-based practice of music therapy has been established to meet the unique needs of each individual through the use of music interventions and experiences. One area that has been heavily researched, studied, and documented is the effectiveness of music therapy for autistic individuals. Music therapy can help foster feelings of connection and community for autistic people, aiding in the growth of social interaction skills. It is also useful in providing a range of developmentally appropriate experiences that help facilitate functional changes in behavior, and can translate to the development of daily living skills. Most importantly, music therapy can provide an avenue for individuals to express their uniqueness in a space that doesn't limit, or try to change their character and authenticity, but rather, celebrates it.”

Autism Acceptance Month

This Autism Acceptance Month, we want to spotlight some upcoming musical events for our students and readers with autism. For example, Music for Autism is an organization currently “enhancing quality of life and raising public awareness through autism-friendly interactive concerts developed specifically for individuals with autism and their families.” Check out their fully subsidized virtual and in-person concerts HERE! This includes upcoming in-person performances of Los Cuatro Amigos (April 27th) and Flutist Adam Sadberry and Pianist Lucy Lao (May 4).

Additionally, Papermill Playhouse (a New Jersey theater that often houses Broadway shows before they get picked up for Broadway) is currently selling tickets for their Autism-Friendly Suessical Musical in June. TDF’s 2023-2024 Autism Friendly Performance Season will end with a performance of Aladdin in May in New York City.

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