Music is “everything” to Tiffany Page-Carter’s 14-year-old son Sam, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. So when Page-Carter learned about Spin the Spectrum DJ classes, she signed Sam up immediately.
The program is held at Speech Wings (469/529-1300; speechwingstherapy.com), a Dallas speech therapy practice owned by DFWChild Mom-Approved speech language pathologist Courtney Willis, MS, CCC-SLP. The music expertise comes from Jay Clipp—founder of Keep Spinning DJ Academy and a DJ who has worked with Jay-Z and LeBron James.
Clipp and Willis say DJing is a natural fit for those on the spectrum. They’re often accustomed to expressing themselves through technology, and techniques such as matching beats and sound repetition can be regulating. “DJing also gives someone the opportunity to be included in a group but carry a lighter social load,” Willis adds. “There are norms for how people interact with a DJ, and that makes social situations more predictable.”
In addition to learning a professional skill, Willis has observed students making gains in confidence, attention and self-control. And Page-Carter can’t overestimate the impact on her son. “Courtney and Jay genuinely see Sam, always presume competence and instill hope through music,” she notes. “This is what inclusion truly looks like.”
Visit spinthespectrum.org to learn more and register for a camp or class.
Top photo courtesy of Noun Cheng