Monday, June 13, 2011

Autism and Friendship

Feel-good story of the day! Everyone should have a Bob Athayde.

LAFAYETTE, Calif. -- Bob Athayde is the most famous person living in my town of Lafayette, California.
(Well, at least as famous as Joe Montana)
He's the Music Director at Stanley Middle School, where he's been teaching for 34 years. When people have children, they want to move to Lafayette because of him. He loves music and he loves teaching. His enthusiasm for music is infectious. Every kid wants to take his class, even if they have never picked up a musical instrument.
As a result, Stanley Middle School has six bands and three jazz ensembles - nine instrumental musical groups in all. Over three hundred of Stanley's students, more than a quarter of the student body - are involved in a band of one sort or another. The advanced jazz group meets before school, starting at 7:30 in the morning and they're eager to get up at that hour to play jazz. A number have become professional musicians. Mr. Athayde has won countless awards and says of his students "If a kid can be sparked, then I'm going to find a way to spark him."
So why was Bob Athayde mowing my lawn over Memorial Day weekend?
Because my 25 year old son Matthew, who has autism, asked him to
. He's outfitted Bob with a T-shirt that reads "Shumaker Landscaping" and put him to work.

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