The Musical Autist hosts Sensory Friendly Concerts®, where people on the autism spectrum can hear great music in an accommodating and respectful environment, without the social restraints of having to sit perfectly still like in a typical concert venue. These are also events where autistic self advocates, as well as music therapy clients, can perform and share their music.
CJ Shiloh will be using the Lippens Keyboard in working with autistic children to evaluate advantages of the keyboard and it’s use in Music Therapy.
I am Board Certified Music Therapist, serving the Central Maryland area in my private practice, Annapolis Music Therapy Services. I’m also a classically trained pianist in the Liszt lineage. I’m honored to be thought of as a true ally by my friends in the Neurodiversity/Autistic Rights Movement, and this work came before my career as a music therapist. This made me a difficult student in grad school when we discussed autism, and the waymany therapists tend to view their clients. I started out in music education, both in public/private schools and running my own piano studio. I got my music degree from CSU-Pueblo in 2003. After moving back to my native Maryland, I commuted over 2 hours (!!) from Baltimore to Shenandoah University, to continue my drawn out journey of becoming a credentialed Music Therapist (MT-BC). (That was my only option at the time, since there are no music therapy graduate programs in MD.) By May 2013 I had finished my internship, passed my Board Examination, and started my private practice. The following year I co-authored the article “Sensory Friendly Concerts: A community music therapy initiative to promote Neurodiversity” with Dr. Blythe LaGasse in the Int’l Journal of Community Music’s special issue on Community Music Therapy. If you’re interested in learning more about the Neurodiversity Movement (from the perspective of an ally and music therapist), you can take the continuing ed course I created on Music Therapy and Neuro Ed. This is a FREE course, intended to help start more Sensory Friendly Concerts around the country and even around the world. I received advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy in November 2014 and am particularly interested in researching the motor differences of people diagnosed on the autism spectrum, through this approach. When I say “motor differences,” feel free to think about people on the spectrum who are nonverbal, and use Supported Typing, Rapid Prompt Method or AAC devices to communicate.
The Musical Autist 501c3 nonprofit organization is located between Baltimore and Annapolis, MD. We are a short hop from DC. We have awesome culture here! It is our vision to promote Autistic Culture by creating EQUAL ACCESS TO THE FINE ARTS in live concert settings, by creating venues that are both respectful and accommodating, and by training local jazz and classical performing artists to be understanding of their audience members. (For example, just because a person can’t sit still and be quiet, doesn’t mean they’re enjoying the music any less!) When I first started this work back in 2011, my goal was to define, establish and trademark “Sensory Friendly Concerts®,” so that these events would fall within the practice of Community Music Therapy and only be facilitated by credentialed music therapists. **Side note – yes we actually got the federal trademark, I still can’t believe it – but do I care about upholding this rule and telling people and venues they can’t use the name? No way, I’ve got way more important things to do with my time and essentially, when I see people using the name I think “Mission accomplished! These ideas are catching on and society is becoming more accommodating to autistic people!”