About two years and three months ago, CJ started developing this blog, but she decided to wait until April 1st to launch it. She’d been chatting online with her friend Paula Durbin-Westby about an Autism Acceptance Day project, and many of us in the autism-rights movement were encouraging her to launch a blog site for it. You can go to Autism Acceptance Day to see it and learn more. The project’s name has evolved into “Autism Acceptance Year” since then.
With a little thought, our motto “Nothing About Us, Without Us” should adequately explain why we would choose April 1st, but we’ll take a moment to explain. We chose 4-1 specifically for the reason that it preceded “Autism Awareness Day” on 4-2. This was a risk worth taking, despite the fact that 4-1 is also April Fool’s Day. (Hence the running joke… “Surprise! we CAN speak for ourselves! : )
And so, CJ decided to launch this blog on 4-1-11, in honor of the first-ever Autism Acceptance Day project.
Two years ago today, CJ was attending her first music therapy conference in Albany NY, as an MT-BC equivalence student. She was just getting started in a new music therapy career, after a decade in music and special education, a few years in the music business, and many, many years of a steady self-learning curve of autism. And so when it was time for CJ to do the music therapy coursework and field placement in Developmental Disabilities, it felt like a review. And of no fault to the professor, who only had a few classes to discuss autism at all, what with all the other populations that music therapists serve, teaching us to speak the clinical language, utilizing a wide variety of therapeutic modalities and interventions… Becoming a Board Certified Music Therapist is no joke – it takes a LOT of training, and is equal to any of the other “helping professions” like Speech and Occupational Therapy.
Now, exactly two years later, CJ and Sunny are preparing for their presentation this week, in the very same regional music therapy conference as when The Musical Autist was born. Their presentation is entitled, “Sensory Friendly Concerts, an opportunity to celebrate Neurodiversity through Community Music Therapy”.
We are really excited and also a bit nervous, to be public speaking to such an esteemed group of professionals. But we believe so strongly in autism acceptance and accommodation in our society, we know every minute of preparation is going to be well worth it.
We look forward to meeting some of our readers in Scranton! Please send us a message if you’ll be there!
And Happy Birthday to The Musical Autist!