We are honored to be a part of the This is Autism Flashblog, in response to what Autism Speaks was telling the world last week. If you are not aware of these current state of affairs, we ask you to please read John Elder Robison’s resignation letter, and these letters by Autism Society and The ARC, in response to Suzanne Wright’s blog post.
And we’d like to say, The Musical Autist organization feels entitled and compelled to promote these two phenomenons as autistic traits for two reasons.
1. We put autistic people FIRST in our organization, in leading and guiding the organization itself. These are folks on the spectrum who have Absolute Pitch (knowing the name of a note just by hearing it) and Synesthesia (seeing colors when hearing certain notes or chords) for themselves, and they can attest to the wonderful musical gifts (though sometimes challenging, like with any gift) that Absolute Pitch and Synesthesia can be. Feel free to go here to read Paula Durbin-Westby’s experiences with Synesthesia and you can also go to Sunny’s page to learn more about her. We’ll be posting another vlog soon, and Sunny will share with you her experiences with Absolute Pitch throughout her lifetime.
2. The other reason we feel entitled and compelled to promote Absolute Pitch and Synesthesia as traits of autism is because of our connections with the field of music therapy. This is the kind of stuff Music Therapists love to study! Check out our Community Music Therapy Team. There you will find some wonderful, competence-presuming, evidence-based-practice-minded Board Certified Music Therapists who interact regularly with people on the spectrum that have Absolute Pitch or Synesthesia. We strive to understand the neurological uniquenesses of autism, and we also realize the efficacy of highlighting the positive traits of people on the spectrum in order to cultivate self-empowerment and self-advocacy.
I mean really, wouldn’t YOU want to know what note or chord was being played just by hearing it? Wouldn’t you enjoy seeing specific colors when you heard certain tones?
To learn more about Absolute Pitch, we highly recommend reading this fascinating research study that came out last year. Or, if reading research is not your forte, you can find some great discussion about the article from Norman Lebrecht, which will highlight the topic of Absolute Pitch for you without getting into the nitty gritty of the research. Another website we highly suggest is from a Music Therapist who also has these auditory giftings – SusanRancer.com will be a great resource for you on this entire topic. To learn more about Synesthesia you can go to the wiki page here.You can also go here and here for perspectives on how much research still needs to be done. But our favorite article on the topic of Synesthesia is from our friend Ariane, at Emma’s Hope Book. After you read that, we highly recommend bookmarking Ariane’s site and visiting regularly.
Have fun! Be inspired! Be hopeful!
Your mindset is more than half the battle.
Your mindset has the greatest impact on those around you.