Opera, Football Team Up To Help Autistic Teens
I knew there had to be a connection between two blood sports. The body is used in the same way. Breathe in Breathe out. Muscles and cords vibrating. Big gestures, big expression. Violence and spectacle. The Romans and the Lions in the arena. Believe it or not, I know sopranos who could frighten any full back or marine sergeant.
Here’s a connection. A recent study at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center has discovered new ways to improve the speech patterns of autistic teens.
Many persons in the spectrum of autism don’t speak at all. Others use a flat monotone, devoid of any color or personality. This robotic affect can be a barrier socially and in the work environment – imagine having a fantastic resume, but losing the job because of your voice.
Dr. Michelle Dunn has teamed up with Larry Harris, a former NFL player from the Houston Oilers turned opera singer, to combat this problem. together, they are working to give color and music to the speech patterns of autistic teens.
As the autism diagnoses evolves and the affected population expands, hopefully there will be more innovative therapies that harness the untapped power of music. Go Larry!