David Mills and his colleagues at Neighborhood Music School have worked diligently to incorporate students with special needs into their music programs. David himself integrates his special need students with his other students. In the “Johnny B. Goode” video on the DoSo Elementary page, three of the twelve students are on the autism spectrum. Two of those students are “twice exceptional” and won concerto competitions several years later.
David was also the leader of a program titled “Noteable Women.” With his colleague Sarah LeMieux they conducted a song-writing workshop for women with Aspergers who are housed at Chaepl Haven, a program designed to teach them independent living. We are reluctant to identify the women by showing videos of them performing their songs, however, we have one video in which the song-writer asked Sarah to perform her song.
Based on the work with Noteable Women, Neighborhood Music School received an award from Autism Speaks. They also received a grant from the Kennedy Center’s VSA Program. For the final report to the Kennedy Center David interviewed six teachers with a combined experience of 150 years working with students on the autism spectrum. It was interesting to see the similarities in the technique they had each developed through individual experience.