“You’ve just got to ignite the light and let it shine,
Just own the night like the Fourth of July,
‘Cause baby, you’re a firework,
Come on, let your colors burst!’” – “Firework”- Katy Perry
The song “Firework” by Katy Perry is a motivational anthem celebrating individuality and self-worth. Its connection to Autism stems from eleven year old Jodi DiPiazza performing “Firework” alongside Perry at Comedy Central’s “Night of Too Many Stars” on October 18, 2012. DiPiazza is autistic, and her parents discovered early on that music not only interested her but gave her an outlet to communicate and express herself.
According to Stephanie Haberman from Mashable, when introducing DiPiazza, host Jon Stewart said, “People with Autism shouldn’t be written off. They deserve, like everyone, the chance to reach their full potential.” DiPiazza and Perry thoroughly exemplified this statement. Both Mashable and the Huffington Post reported that by the end of their performance, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Perry later tweeted: “I will never forget last night. It was the most important moment thus far of what I do.”
Music Helps Children with Autism
At FOCUS, we have seen how powerful music can be for our children. Our Day Program participates in music therapy, which has been known to increase communication and reduce anxiety. Our Summer Program talent show is full of campers performing creative routines of all sorts for their peers, many of them musical acts. And at our Fall and Spring parties, children take advantage of the opportunity to sing along to their favorite songs.
Music Encourages Community
This year’s Spring Party, held on April 4th, was no exception. Throughout the party, children would take a break from socializing to race over to the microphone and belt out a tune. Some sang solo, but many chose to include their peers in the spotlight, even if they didn’t know them. The attitude of inclusiveness, belonging and kindness from our impromptu performers was contagious! Children who had never met each other prior to the Spring Party were chatting, chasing, and playing together without fear of judgment or ridicule. By the end of the night, new friendships were forged and others were strengthened.
Be your own Firework
Our children were fireworks of positive energy during our Spring Party. At FOCUS events, they can feel free to be themselves and have fun. You can experience this for yourself – check out our event calendar to see when our next family-friendly event will be!