Katy Perry, Jodi DiPiazza- Firework (Night of Too Many Stars)

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, this weeks TBT goes to one of my favorite YouTube videos ever

With April being National Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to do something special for this weeks throwback Thursday and I couldn’t have thought of any better video to show than Katy Perry and Jodi DiPiazza, who suffers from autism, singing Firework during John Stewart’s Night of Too Many Stars.

For those who don’t know, this performance aired on Comedy Central in 2012 during John Stewart’s Night of Too Many Stars. This program sought out to raise money with NYCA (New York Collaborates for Autism) to support and create autism programs, schools, and services throughout the country.

This video is beyond spectacular. Having worked with children with autism for many years, I have seen the struggles that many parents face on a daily basis with young children, with verbal skills, tantrums, learning, and many more. Watching this video from start to finish really puts it into perspective the difficulties a family with a child with autism goes through on a daily basis, and the dramatic changes different programs can have on their child at a young age.

When you watch the video from the beginning to end, it’s absolutely incredible to see the transition that Jodi makes after being placed in a program catered for her. Going from a child who doctors told not to expect much from, throwing tantrums, and struggling with verbal skills, to being relatively mild mannered, strong verbally, and taking the stage with one of pops biggest icons, playing piano flawlessly and singing along to one of her favorite songs. It’s remarkable what these programs are able to do for these children and this video won’t leave a dry eye in the room when you watch it.

Autism has become a rampant issue in today’s society, with the number of children diagnosed moving from 1 in 88 children in 2010, to 1 in 68 children born affected with autism. That’s a 30% increase in a 2 year period (Results are published 2 years after being done). The jump in the diagnosis of autism proves now more than ever that something needs to be done, in research and in programs for those affected.

Where we can start is providing funding for these programs and research. Though autism may not affect you directly, I can almost guarantee that  you know a person who lives with, or works with a person with autism on a daily basis. Now is our chance to be proactive, to do something to help improve and ease the lives of those affected with this disorder.

During this month I urge all of you to help raise awareness on autism, whether through education or donations. If you wish, donations can be made to:

New York Collaborates for Autism

Autism Society