BOSTON — Gianna Hitsos is an eighth grader from Groton with an ambitious project: she’s making a CD of herself singing her favorite Broadway songs.
That’s a big deal for Gianna. Because when she was about one year old — just as she started saying words like “daddy” and “puppy” — she suddenly stopped talking. She didn’t talk again until she was almost three. The diagnosis was autism.
Now she gets private voice lessons at the Boston Conservatory on Saturdays during the school year. Other autistic kids in the same program study piano or guitar or violin. But they’re not here to learn to make eye contact or understand social cues or any of the other communication skills many kids with autism lack.
They attend to become better musicians. Period.
The program’s goal is to give autistic kids musical opportunities that could change their futures: Maybe playing in an orchestra, maybe performing in a band. Read More