Whenever a storm occurs it has this magical ability to clear the air and transform a grey and moody atmosphere into a clearer and brighter moment in time. As J gets older, the storms created out of sheer frustration, inequality and misunderstanding take longer to build due to the tolerance for these matters growing larger. However, when the storm comes it is on a huge scale and takes some time to lose its pent-up negative energy. The storm is always double barrelled as it isn’t only J’s storm but also ours as parents because we can’t help but feel the trauma albeit not to the same profound level as the young man in the storm’s eye.
Out of sheer frustration I dusted off my soapbox and with J’s permission I made some in roads for us to explore. We emailed a variety of known people in the trade as a starting point and very quickly received a very positive email back which offered support and contacts of autistic adult performers who we could link up with through social media with a view to creating a community for J to engage with. This progressed to us making contact with Equity and becoming involved in their up and coming autism guidance for the industry.
J also received a lovely inspirational email from Stephen Schwartz.
‘I have heard about your interest in musical theatre and desire to be a performer. I know there are ways that this career will be challenging for you, perhaps more so than for some others. But I also hear you are talented and enthusiastic, and I hope and wish for you that you will defy gravity and succeed. All best wishes, Stephen Schwartz.’
Last weekend J was asked to support an up-and-coming artist in his music video. He was picked as a younger looking version of the artist and for being similar. When we arrived we found that the artist was autistic, has ADHD and anxiety. The song is being released as part of a mental health campaign and the video depicts the story of his teenage years and how he found music which helps him to express himself. J was nothing short of amazing and absolutely loved the experience. He enjoyed being around the artist as this gave him inspiration and the Music Director as he had worked on projects for the F.A which J thought was very cool!
Last night we heard the news that J will have the opportunity to perform in a West End theatre as part of a choir. How exciting! It is all starting to come back together and J is excited for his performing future.