Building Bridges With Autistic Children Through Music

Reflections on how organisations can learn through inclusivity projects

Caroline Louis. Photo by David Ospina
Ben Lunn. Photo by Brian Hartley
Cassiea Sim
Caroline Louis. Photo by David Ospina. And Ben Lunn. Photo by Brian Hartley


Session 15

Chaired by Caroline Louis (Canada), director of education, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

with Ben Lunn (UK), composer & director, Disabled Artist Network;
Cassiea Sim (Canada), graduate student, McGill University

With a wish to increase their accessibility, many orchestras have recently been expanding their audience base and taking part in what might be called an inclusivity movement.

In Montreal, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) has built an initiative from the ground up, placing youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – some of the individuals for whom music can have the most positive impact – at the heart of the OSMose project. Supported by a committee of experts in autism, neurocognition and music therapy, the OSM piloted a school laboratory and developed a musical discovery path adapted for children with ASD. This project has enabled the OSM to learn and grow.

Two panellists will join the conversation: Cassiea Sim, a member of the committee of experts, and composer Ben Lunn (Glasgow). Ben studies barriers to accessibility and strategies to minimise these barriers, in the context of the user experience of neurodivergent persons.