I'm told that clicking on this video by Five for Fighting and watching it helps raise money for autism research and education programs. I love this song, anyway. Even that snippet, "history starts now." Great concept:) Five for Fighting Found out, April is Autism Awareness Month.
I know a couple people with autism and one high school senior with Asperger's Syndrome. One of the boys on the autism spectrum (seems quite highly funcitoning or Asperger's syndrome to me), is in M's Irish stepdancing performing troupe. His parents are great, too, and I will be giving them this link. (Dad is also a musician, and sometimes plays bodhran with the boy dancing as a "duet" of sorts at shows, or with other boys dancing.) The boy is about 9 months younger than M, and is "just" another member of the troupe, as in, all members accepted and comfortable together. He's more noticeable for being the boy in their particular troupe than anything else, oh, and the reddest hair:)
The other boy ah, nix that, young man now, I know who has actual autism, I also know from dancing. His older sister was an Irish stepdancer and he and his parents have been members of my main Irish ceili and set dance group for many years. His main focus is on music, and he also plays guitar and piano. Anyone spending much time with this young man socially, will pick up that he functions differently than "the majority." He was in a special schooling program until he turned 21 years old about 2 years ago?, proudly displaying his high school ring.
There are patterns in much of Irish dancing, particular for sets (figures) dances. I enjoy those myself, and once I "get" the pattern in a dance, I can really enjoy it. Dancing in pattern-styled dancing apparently helps keep the mind functioning and can aid against dementia, also:) Just thought I'd add that in. I do know that many who have minds that are more mathematically or engineering oriented do well with "my" type of Irish dancing (the more social type), at least in terms of remembering the dances. (Sometimes, some can't free-form dance very comfortable which is noticeable when it's a waltz and they prefer waltz cotillion, with patterns and expectations, over flowing across the floor in a free-form walt with ones partner.) I digress....... My guess is that the patterns found in many of the ceili and set (figures) dances are helpful for those with their neurology on the autism spectrum. They know what to expect, how it SHOULD be. (Sometimes the young man gets a bit stressed about doing it correctly, has every dance quite memorized. I do fine with him, so sometimes get paired with him.
I'm NO expert by ANY stretch on autism or Asperger's, just a fellow human being who did some searching and talking with parents about their own kids, nothing more than that. But, what the heck, here are two websites with some further information that I found interesting. I like the one article in particular for it's discussion how some of this (a touch of autism in ones life) can be an enhancement for a person and society, just as I personally see a touch of ADHD being a positive thing. (I scored 24 points on the AQ test, with the average 16.x and the "cutoff" of 32, but some of the scoring for me may be the ADD symptons??? combined with my math skills??? I DO notice things such as phone numbers and license plates, lol) I'm not autistic.
But, I am much more understanding of, say, the bright and wonderful high school senior and her personal space issues and her incredible interest and knowledge of owls, who loves band and happens to have Asperger's syndrome. She does rock back and forth a touch sometimes. She was quite relieved to discover this about herself as a high school student (and realize her dad has it, also), after a toddler in her family was diagnosed. I know that my comprehension that part of my internal wiring is why I am, in part, the way I am, was a relief to me.