Music artists, Joe Iadanza and Peter Case, will be performing on Friday, March 18 at the in Port Washington to raise awareness for autism.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit The Mosaic School for Autism in Wantagh, The Genesis School (Eden II Program) in Plainview and Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism (the Martin C. Barell School) in Commack. Tickets are priced at $15, $30 or $40, depending on an individual’s seating preference.
Port Washington resident Laurie Murdock, executive director and co-founder of The Mosaic School for Autism, which is located inside St. Frances De Chantal Roman Catholic Church, is helping to organize the March 18 concert. Since the moment she first heard the word “autism,” Murdock has become a true advocate for the disability.
Though Murdock’s background was in law and litigation, she changed her life to direct her attention to her both her children’s needs. The Mosaic School for Autism is specifically designed for children who are going through their teenage years and are trying to gain more of a state of independence.
Murdock set up the Performing Artists for Autism Education Inaugural Concert so that it is simply a fun event where people can come and enjoy themselves. Both musicians Peter Case and Joe Iadanza are very excited to be performing for such a benefit. Iadanza feels a personal connection to the event because his cousin’s child was diagnosed as being “on the spectrum” just a couple years ago.
“The reason why I wanted to do this concert is because it’s important to draw attention to these kinds of issues and autism is a horrible thing for a parent to have to work with,” said Iadanza. “It’s a real challenge. But for me, what Laurie is doing with the schools, she’s giving these kids who have a lot stacked against them the chance to fulfill their dreams. And that’s what I’m huge about. That’s what my music is based on- fulfilling your dreams."
In Iadanza’s song Night Light lullaby he sings about the standing by the oppressed individual with a lot going against them. It is easy to compare the individual in this song to one who has been diagnosed with autism because parents will be by their children’s side no matter what happens as they try to receive treatment and search for a cure, said Iadanza.
Murdock is certainly an individual that could relate to Iadanza’s song. Murdock first heard about autism from her doctor when her first son, Bryan, who was four at the time, was showing his first signs of inability to interact with people the way he should have been.
“My doctor leaned forward and asked me ‘Have you heard the A- Word?” Murdock giggled. “And I thought ‘The A- Word?’ How inappropriate! I think the reason why the pediatrician said it that way was because she knew just how much autism was about to change my life.”
Since the moment Murdock found out her first son had autism, she has done everything in her power to help her boys. Most things have not worked for Bryan and Conner, but one thing that did help was Applied Behavior Analysis.
“Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) turned out to be a savior for both of my kids,” Murdock said. “Because of ABA, I believe that my 20- year- old son will one day have a job. My younger son [Conner] probably wouldn’t be speaking or taking care of himself if it weren’t for ABA. There are a lot of things he still can’t tell me about, but I hate think where he would be without ABA. I hate to think what position he would be in.”
The Performing Artists for Autism Education Inaugural Concert is just one of the many events Murdock has held in the past few years. She can only hope that Joe Iadanza and Peter Case’s American Dream visions will be able to reach out to anyone who can help.
“I have a dream,” Murdock paused. Her voice cracked as she spoke the next couple words to finish her thought. “And my dream is that my children and other kids like them who have autism will be able to live normal, happy lives after I’m gone.”