Now that Rock Your Speech - Volume 1 is released, we are very excited to be getting lots of great feedback from families who are listening to the music with their kids, and the response has been great! We love hearing from families who are touched by our family sharing our story about raising a child with autism spectrum disorder. We are shining a positive light on the wonderful things about special kids like our son Liam. Our goal is to create a tool for parents to share and engage their children with rock music to help improve speech and language skills. It is also our goal to help the general public gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live with autism spectrum disorder. With 1 in 68 children being diagnosed, there is an urgent need for community support programs.

We recently shared Rock Your Speech with the American Music Therapy Association at their 2015 national conference in Kansas City. We had the opportunity to meet music therapists from all over the country and converse with them about the work they are doing with various medical needs including autism. The words of support from the music therapy community were encouraging. Many of them asked if we have a program, and that is exactly what we want to do next. With the help of our advisor and music therapist Maegan Morrow, we are expanding our music into an educational program.

We are uniquely positioned to create such a program because we have the viewpoint of both the consumer and producer. As parents, we understand the need for parents to be involved with the therapy team. Daily reinforcement and repetition of the therapy work are critical to success in helping children with autism overcome speech and language deficits. With hard work and a team of therapists and parents working together, it can be done. Our son Liam is a shining example of that. After years of intensive work in speech therapy and with music, he is now verbal and capable of having a conversation with anyone.

We believe a program that makes it easier for parents and children to practice speech skills at home will add to the success of clinical speech and music therapy programs. Our plan for a Rock Your Speech music therapy program includes audio and video elements designed as a  guide for parents and kids to use music as a learning tool. To achieve this goal, we will need to produce music videos, melodic vocal exercises and video speech exercises.

We cannot achieve this goal by ourselves. We need funding. We have set our initial goal at $200,000, which is a bare minimum to cover the hard cost of hiring a film production crew for completing 10 music videos and speech exercise videos, audio engineers for the melodic vocal exercises and building an app to distribute the content.

We learned a lot from our first funding campaign with PledgeMusic. We pre-sold the first CD and offered various exclusives to those who bought in first. While the campaign was a success and we achieved our goal of releasing the record, we learned it is not easy to convince people to put their money where their heart is. Lots of people liked and shared our content, but we need more action than likes. We are happy we did it and we feel the appreciation from so many, but we are still far from recouping the real expenses of recording and producing that record. With only a little over 300 people participating, we did very well. But imagine what we could do with more people participating.

To achieve this new and bigger goal, we will need contributions both small and large. We are asking for your help. Please know that even small amounts go a long way if we can convince a lot of people to participate. If we get could just get 10,00 to donate $20 each, we would be there. There are nearly 1 million followers on Cheap Trick’s facebook page. If we could convince only 10% to give us a contribution, we would be there. Your participation matters.

Music matters. It matters a lot to a lot of people, and in our case, it made a difference toward helping Liam learn to speak. We are just trying to take what we have learned and put it to use to help lots of other kids like Liam.

There is no cure for autism. There are no medicines that alleviate the symptoms which include impaired ability to speak and communicate, impaired social skills, and impaired cognitive function. These things can all be improved with intensive therapy with trained speech, occupational and physical therapists - and now music therapists are adding a valuable approach as well.

Our program will be an affordable solution for parents who cannot afford the 25 to 40 hours per week of therapy that is recommended. With clinical therapy costing upwards of $100 per hour, very few families can afford it. Our Rock Your Speech music therapy program will help parents engage their children in learning with music, and help them feel more connected and part of the therapy team. If we can raise the funding needed to create the audio/video content, we will be able to distribute our product and make it affordable to parents, therapists, educators and kids. Educational content will be accessible anytime and anywhere through downloadable and streamable speech practice exercises. Great rock music and video images will capture the interest of children on the spectrum and make it fun to learn. And a big bonus - it will be fun for the parents too!

100% of the money we raise through your donations here will go directly toward funding our audio and video content for the Rock Your Speech program.

Do you still need convincing? If you donate $100 or more, you will be automatically subscribed to all of our content as it happens. You’ll have exclusive access to behind the scenes footage of upcoming recording sessions and interviews with the people behind the making of Rock Your Speech. We are honored to have a stellar band working with us. Each is an experienced artist and have some interesting stories to tell. Most of them have their own connection to someone with autism. All of them are doing it out of a love for Liam Petersson and a love for the cause. It means the world to us to have their participation, and we hope to give you an inside look at the who, what and why behind it all.

Thank you all so much for your time and interest in Rock Your Speech. We hope you can see the real love that is driving us to put forth so much effort into making our dreams for RYS a reality. You make the world a better place when you give back, and that is a gift we have received from this project. We invite you to be a part of it too.

Tom, Alison, Lilah, and Liam Petersson