FLAME, a musical group, made up of people with developmental and physical disabilities, performed for an audience at Stafford Middle School Oct. 22. The event was sponsored by the newly-formed Autism Alliance of Northeastern New York.
FLAME entertained more than 300 audience members in a special performance at the Stafford Middle School on Oct. 22.
The event was sponsored by the newly-formed Autism Alliance of Northeastern New York, a group that has branched from the annual Autism Awareness Walk.
“We wanted to still work alongside the autism walk but we also saw this new group as a way to make a broader impact on the community and help those affected by autism,” said Autism Alliance board member Melissa Provost.
The Autism Alliance is on a mission to empower individuals and families touched by autism spectrum disorders through support and education. Though the alliance is still a few months away from becoming an official nonprofit organization, Autism Alliance president Lisa Brisco said the FLAME performance was a preview to the kind of events the group hopes hold in the future.
Brisco said it is “sometimes hard for someone with an autistic family member to plan a family outing to places like a fair, or Parc Safari without worrying their family may be judged.” Events like the FLAME concert are an inspiration to the those affected by autism, she said, allowing families to have a safe and comfortable place to enjoy themselves.
“It’s a natural occurrence for families to go out an do activities together,” Brisco said. “When you have a child with a developmental disability it can be more challenging. It’s so important that we have events like this so people don’t feel so isolated, they can connect with each other and share their experiences.”
FLAME, a musical group, made up of 10 people with developmental and physical disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, and blindness. The group is based out of Lexington Center, the Fulton County Chapter of the New York State Association of Regional Councils, Inc.
Brisco said audience members were thrilled to be part of the event, especially one 11-year-old girl who was very excited to meet another person that shares her disability.
“She was thrilled; she is blind and has rarely got to meet another blind person,” Brisco said, adding it was especially exciting for audience members or family members who shared disabilities with band members to see how much the group members have accomplished.
The band members, their accomplishments and talent inspire people and changes the way the general public view people with disabilities, she added.
According to Brisco, the idea to host FLAME in Plattsburgh came from a board member that had brought her daughter to a FLAME performance in Saranac Lake. She said it was so inspiring, for a parent of a child with Down syndrome to see that it is possible for a child living with developmental issues, like autism, to be able to achieve greatness and to live their dreams.
One of the Alliance’s missions is to bring more autism education and early autism screening to the residents in Plattsburgh.
“We want to educate the community here, not at events held miles away but to have quarterly educational and family fun activities here,” Brisco said.
Those wishing to get involved with the Autism Alliance can go to the Autism Walk’s Facebook page by searching for “Autism Awareness Walk - Plattsburgh, NY” or contact Autism Alliance board member Laura Carmichael at 570-7225.