I just wanted to remind you that April is Jazz Appreciation Month.
This is the month that has been set aside to focus on the musical
gift that America has given the world: JAZZ. This gift has touched my
life profoundly with all of the joy involved in learning, performing,
and now teaching it. Please make it your goal to support this music.
Buy a CD, go to a concert or Jazz club, support young people who are
studying it.....this music will disappear if we're not proactive in
Now to the real reason for this email.
I wanted to inform you that April is also Autism Awareness Month. For
those of you who don't know it, my seven year old son Thomas was
diagnosed with autism shortly after his second birthday. This highly
complex neurobiological disorder has impacted every aspect of my
life. My relationships with family, friends and business associates
have all changed in one way or another. My wife and I now know all
too well what sleep deprivation is. The divorce rate among parents of
autistic children is a staggering 70% and rising. This is due to the
enormous amount of stress involved in the daily happenings of a home
affected by autism. Fortunately, my family has learned how to laugh
when things are going completely haywire. It's not easy under any
circumstance. I've lost many friends who didn't know how to deal with
our situation. As a working musician who travels in order to make a
living, I've had to shorten the amount of time that I can stay on the
road. The direction of my career has been detoured. This creates many
Unlike with my older children, I've never had even a simple
conversation with my son. This is without a doubt the toughest aspect
for me to deal with. He's a happy, beautiful little boy who loves to
sing and dance and laugh......yet the doors of developed
communication remain completely shut.
This email was not composed so that you can feel sorry for me. I'm
only one of literally thousands of people who are affected by Autism.
I draw my inner strength from my faith.....therefore I realize the
importance making people aware. It's vital that we become informed
and try to get involved. Believe me, at the rate of what's going on
with autism, it will only be a matter of time before everyone's life
is impacted in one way or another.
Thanks you for your time.
The following is some information that I got from the
Did you know...
· 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism.
· 1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum.
· 67 children are diagnosed per day.
· A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes.
· More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with
AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.
· Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in
· Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure
expected to double in the next decade.
· Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less
prevalent childhood diseases.
· Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.
· There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
Incidence vs. Private Funding
· Leukemia: Affects 1 in 25,000 / Funding: $310 million
· Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 20,000 / Funding: $175 million
· Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 8,000 / Funding: $394 million
· Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $130 million
· Autism: Affects 1 in 150 / Funding: $15 million
National Institutes of Health Funds Allocation
· Total 2005 NIH budget: $29 billion
· Of this, only $100 million goes towards autism research. This
represents 0.3% of total NIH funding.