Autism and Music

An account of the first Musical Keys session of the new year and some autism related links.


This post comprises two elements – one an account of the first Musical Keys session of 2018 and the other sharing some excellent recent stuff about autism. Because it is an autism themed post I am using #RedInstead text (scarlet for headings and links, maroon for body text). 


Musical Keys is an activity run for autistic people who enjoy music. Generally speaking it is run fortnightly, with a session for youngsters between 3PM and 3:45PM and a session for older participants from 4PM to 5PM. I had initially been expecting to renew my acquaintance with Reaper (a computer program for composing music – see here for more details) but circumstances dictated otherwise, and I actually ended up on a…


This machine can function as a wide range of instruments/voices and in a wide range of styles, and I explored a lot of the instruments in the course of the time I spent on it.


John, one of the two people who run these sessions, showed me how to play chords as opposed to single notes, and I experimented with playing varying numbers of notes simultaneously, and using the whole range of the keyboard. 

I created a few chords where the notes played could also form words, such as face/cafe, cabbage etc. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of this keyboard and learning something of its capacities.

These notes could form the word ‘cabbage’ (there being 2 as, 2 bs, 1c, 1e and 1g. Kirsten Murray, who helps John to run the sessions, took this picture with my camera.
Here you can see the notes – I played this with my left hand, while photographing with my right.
A close up the central screen.
The screen with more of its surrounds, including detail about the ‘voice’ settings.


This section starts with a post from Rhi that I regard as being the last word on “mild autism”, published under the title “Autscriptic: Mild Autism“. 

My next piece comes from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa of under the self-explanatory title “Eleven Ways You Can Make Your Autistic Child’s Life Easier

The next two pieces in this section are both from the blog “Autism is my Superpower


I have linked to a number of reviews of Judith Newman’s book “To Siri With Love”, although since I have not read the book I can offer no direct comment about it, and here are a few more pieces about that book:


The organisation who are the subject of this little section go by the name of Autism Speaks, who you will also see referred to as Autism $peaks, Auti$m $peak$ and A$ in various places. 

  1. From comes this story, whose title “Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination” gives you more than a hint of the truth about this vile organisation.
  2. The website has a piece titled “Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit” which is as damning an indictment of an organisation that claims to be an autism charity as you could find anywhere.


The SCOPE Christmas Meal And Some Autism Related Links

A brief account of the SCOPE Christmas meal to which I was invited as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and some autism related links.


I am including autism related links because it was in my capacity as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary that I was invited to attend the SCOPE christmas meal (our organisations are looking to work more closely on various things). 


The meal was arranged for The Gatehouse, a Hungry Horse pub located near the South Gate, at the edge of King’s Lynn (hence the name) with food booked for 3PM. The plan was for a few things to be discussed as well. I arrived at the pub not long after 2PM, purchased a pint to drink slowly while I waited for others to arrive (SCOPE were paying for the food, so I reckoned I could allow myself a couple of drinks) and settled down to wait. 

Others began arriving at around 2:45, and Chloe Yianni from SCOPE, who was running the event, arrived just before 3PM. 

Most of the ‘meeting’ element of the day took place between the main course and dessert, accompanied by a very impressive sunset (yes folks it gets dark early in these parts in December). 

I enjoyed the occasion and look forward to working closely with the people from SCOPE in 2018 and beyond.

The first 14 pictures you will see were taken while walking to the pub

StarlingBirds in a treeBirds on the wingCormorantWagtailCormorant 2Rooks and warning signwind turbinesbirds in the grassStarling on grassStarling 3Nar Valley ParkBridge

My last three calendars set out in the pub.
book like wall
The first of five decor shots

decorationHungry Horse motifWall artdecoration 2

The sunset
Chloe Yianni
The party.


A majority of the links in this section are to posts on USian (acknowledgement to New Zealander Heather Hastie for this term) blogs/ sites, and most of the rest are British, although a few other countries also feature. As an internationalist I am proud that people from many countries visit this blog (108 in the last year, 123 all time). 


This section relates to a wonderful post put up by Autism Mom a couple of days ago under the title “I WANT TO BE CALLED AUTISTIC” I offer you my own comment in immediate response to that post, which I stand by:

Well done to both you and your son. Although my own strong preference is to describe myself as an autistic person I am quite happy for those who choose to do so to describe themselves as people with autism – what I will not accept is a well meaning neurotypical person seeking to make the decision on our behalf – it is our decision and we should make it ourselves.

Also, here is a quote from the end of the post:

Person first versus identify first: He cocked his head and asked me to explain more.

“I want to be called autistic,” he announced after I had finished. “Saying “person with autism” sounds like I have a disease. I don’t have a disease, this is just how I am.”

And then he added: “Actually, I want to be called by my name, but if you need to describe my autism I want to be called autistic.”

Make it so.

If you are reading this and have an autistic spectrum condition please feel free to add a comment about how you would prefer to be described.

I finish this section with a link to post mentioned in the Autism Mom piece linked to above which appears on Autistic Not Weird under the title “A plea to the autism community from one of your own


Many splendid pieces have been produced about this subject since I last provided links relating to it, and I append a bulleted list of the best links:


I conclude this post by linking to a story from the excellent John Pring of Disability News Service. As a strong supporter of “Nothing About Us Without Us” I hardly need to tell you why I was delighted to read “Autistic-led taskforce will address ‘hypocrisy and injustice’