autism speaks through music: dave grohl reaches out

By Diana Hereld | @pathwaysinmusic


On Thursday, Autism Speaks held their Third Annual Blue Jean Ball at Boulevard3 in Hollywood. The evening began with a star-studded blue carpet, including appearances from Joshua Jackson, Diane Kruger, J.K. Simons and Dave Grohl. Hosted by TV personality Maria Menounos (Extra) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield), the ball included musical performances by Rick Springfield, Ryan Bingham and Dave Grohl, a live auction and the honoring of Chuck Saftler (FX Networks) for his dedication and work in the field of autism awareness, and testimony of Saftler’s son’s personal journey as a child on the autism spectrum.



Only a decade ago, the diagnostic percentage of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) was 1 in 10,000. By 2013, this figure leapt to 1 in 88. While the cause of this alarming growth, treatment and a cure for autism continue to be a heavily debated and controversial issue, the fact remains that the disorder is growing, and attention to this circumstance is no longer optional.

During the event, a few attendees on the spectrum were graced with a photo op with Dave Grohl. One such young man, Andrew Hain, 21, had much to say on why Autism Speaks is a great organization deserving of celebrity endorsement and attention.

“It’s amazing – they do amazing things. Autism Speaks’ main focus is on four things: research, advocacy, family services and awareness. Advocacy can come in the form of insurance reform, where the government can chip in. Research can be raising money for genetic exploration, and awareness…people need to know now that Autism affects 1 in 88 families. We have to get the word out to the general public that it’s more common that in used to be. When I was first diagnosed, it was 1 in 10,000.” photo (51)

Andrew’s father, Phillip Hain, originally became involved with Autism Speaks as a volunteer. He has since served as the national director of Team Up! with Autism Speaks for 6 years.

“I was drawn to it because of its reach into the community, its ability to fund wonderful research and provide tools and resources to help families navigate a very complicated system.”

(For fascinating story Music Makes the Difference on Andrew, ASD and music, please visit the Autism Speaks Blog).

The evening concluded with a rousing and poignant acoustic performance by Dave Grohl. Interspersing hits including “Times Like These,” “My Hero” and “Everlong,” the packed nightclub fell quiet when Grohl shared words on why he was thankful to be in the position to give back to organizations like Autism Speaks. “One of the greatest things about being a musician – I write a song for one reason, and I sing it to you guys, and then you sing it back to me for eighty thousand difference reasons.”


When so many on the spectrum can be aided by therapies in music developing social skills, memory, abilities in empathy and stimulating cognitive functioning needed for elements like speech, sensory-motor and overall communication, those with the means and reach – especially musicians – should care. People universally connect to and are healed by music in thousands of different ways, and when we have the resources, we need leave no one behind.

Photo 1, 2, 3 and 5 credit – Diana C. Hereld

Photo 2 credit – Phillip Hain




Hosted by Extra’s Maria Menounos and Actor Michael Chiklis


LOS ANGELES, CA, October 20, 2013 – Grammy® Award-winning music legend Dave Grohl

will headline Autism Speaks’ Third Annual BLUE JEAN BALL, presented by The GUESS?

Foundation, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at Boulevard 3 in Hollywood.

Dave Grohl is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter for the Foo Fighters, a band he

founded after being the drummer for the American grunge band Nirvana. Grohl is an eleven-

time Grammy® winner, and was Grammy®-nominated a total of 25 times. He has also taken

home an American Music Award and two MTV Music Video Awards.


Also performing will be rock artist Rick Springfield, who won a Grammy® for his No. 1 hit

“Jessie’s Girl” in 1981 and received an additional three Grammy® nominations. Oscar® and

Grammy®-winning artist Ryan Bingham will be performing as well. He recently wrote and

recorded “Until I’m One With You,” the theme-song for FX’s drama-series, The Bridge. Bingham

performed and co-wrote Crazy Heart’s (2009) award-winning theme song “The Weary Kid,”

earning him an Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice Award, with the American

Music Association naming him “Artist of the Year.”


Also taking the stage will be American Idol finalist James Durbin, who is recognized for placing

in the top four of Season 10, while openly sharing his challenges of living with Aspergers

and Tourettes. In addition, The White Buffalo with singer/songwriter Jake Smith (Shadows,

Greys and Evil Ways) will perform. World-renowned DJ Splyce will be providing entertainment

throughout the evening.


The Third Annual BLUE JEAN BALL is honoring Chuck Saftler, President of Program Strategy

and Chief Operating Officer of FX Networks, and Autism Speaks Board of Directors’ Member.

Saftler will receive the tribute for his dedication to autism awareness. Hosting the event will be

television personality Maria Menounos (Extra) and Emmy® Award-winning Actor Michael Chiklis

(The Shield, Vegas, The Commish).


The Autism Speaks BLUE JEAN BALL is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for

innovative autism research and resources for individuals and families affected by the

disorder. Tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional information are available at


“One in 88 children is currently diagnosed with autism, and the annual cost for families living

with the disorder is an average of $60,000,” stated Matt Asner, Executive Director of Southern

California for Autism Speaks. “Now, more than ever, we need to raise awareness and assure

that research, advocacy and family service initiatives continue to be funded. What better way to

make a little noise than with a rock and roll concert?”


Past participants and honorees have included Sarah McLachlan, Toni Braxton, Paul Marciano,

photographer Rob Shanahan, Sinbad, Brooke White, Raphael Saadiq, Sarah Shahi, Beth

Reisgraph, Nikki Reed and Paul MacDonald, among others.


Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism

spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders

are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as

well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated one in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 78

percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.


About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding

research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism

spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism

Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with

autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC

and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research

and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are

held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established

partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and

awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit .


Established in 1981, GUESS began as a jeans company and has since successfully grown into a global

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is distributed throughout the United States and Canada in fine department stores, its retail specialty and

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