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Unique production is helping kids with autism

May 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a time when schools have very little money to support music and performing arts programs, one local agency wants to show the community just how important they are.Fifteen-year-old Wyatt and his mom Diane Issacs are part of a unique stage production in which many of the performers are children with autism.

"It's not the ability within the disability because I don't think it's a disability. I think it's a gift," said Diane. "Autism offers so many beautiful gifts and that's what we are trying to show."

Wednesday's performance of "Autism Sings" at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills will be a show case of unique talent. Organizers expect it to be entertaining and inspirational.

But above all the goal is to educate the community about the therapeutic value of the fine arts. This is especially key in children with autism.

"All of the arts stimulate the brain," said Joanne Lara, founder of Autism Movement Therapy Inc. "Theatre, dancing, singing, painting and sculpture all activate every area of the brain. What we are looking for is to activate the brain so we will have a whole brain thinking approach."

Joanne says kids with autism can't always utilize both sides of their brain. Music, dance and crafts help build a bridge. She believes performing also bring children with special needs out of their emotional shell.

"Our mission is to let everyone know that our kids deserve and need the arts programs in their schools, in their communities and specifically for kids with disabilities.

It's a special production none of the performers want you to miss.

"It is about love and acceptance," said Wyatt.

"Autism Sings" will be on stage May 5. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. The group is giving the first 50 families who show up free admission. All the donations go to support Autism Movement Therapy.


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