A University of North Texas student is raising awareness for autism one note at a time.
Joseph Reding, a senior at UNT, has released a single inspired by those with autism. Reding’s new single was released last week with the name “Held Close”.
Reding is a violinist, orchestrator, and composer who will soon graduate with a master’s in classical violin and jazz studies.
He is also on the autistic spectrum after having been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) at the age of 5, according to NBC 5 DFW.
PDD, identified as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a range of disorders that manifest as delayed development of social and communication skills. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reported that these conditions are normally diagnosed at the age of 3.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection detailed that 1 in 36 8-year-olds in the United States were diagnosed with autism in 2020, up from 1 in 68 as recorded in 2010, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Officials noted that these rates continue to rise across the nation.
Reding told NBC 5 DFW that he not only embraces an identity based on his condition but, also describes it as his “superpower.”
“Whenever I play jazz fusion on my electric violin, I am ‘Sir Autismo,'” Reding said according to NBC DFW. “That is my kinda stage name,” he continued.
Reding made this latest song as an effort to restore the feeling of comfort and care that can be found in an embrace.
“The emotion that I need to communicate is — you’ve been without a hug for a while, you get a hug, and you realize, ‘Oh, I’ve been missing this hug,'” said Reding, according to NBC 5 DFW.
“Part of my mission as a musician, as someone with autism, is to help spread awareness of how beautiful everybody’s mind is,” said Reding, according to NBC 5 DFW. “I think it’s my responsibility to be somewhat of a voice for people who otherwise might feel like they don’t have a voice,” he continued.
Reding’s new single is available on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora.