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July 3, 2017

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Film hails help given to autistic children

A charity program initiated by local musicians and dedicated to the music education of autistic children is to be made into a documentary.

The film will be shot by Barry Morrow, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Rain Man” — a movie centered on an autistic adult.

Morrow said the documentary, whose making was announced at a charity event in Shanghai on Saturday, will be part of an awareness and fund-raising effort to help autistic children worldwide.

So far, hundreds of autistic children have gone through Angel Confidant Salon, which was started in 2008 by Cao Peng, founder of Shanghai City Symphony Orchestra.

Members of the orchestra work as volunteers at the salon to teach children to play musical instruments, which parents said has made their children more sociable. Five of the children have gone on to play in the City Teenager Symphony Orchestra.

“Music opens their ears and then their hearts,” Cao said. “Now we are increasingly training them to play in groups so they learn to interact with others.”

Zhang Jinhong, the mother of a 14-year-old boy who has been attending the salon for two years, said the program has changed the family’s life. “He used to be very anxious and never blended with other kids, but now he’s more and more confident and happy.”

Cao Xiaoxia, a daughter of Cao Peng who is in charge of the weekly salon, said the next goal is to set up a school for autistic children.

There are about 230,000 autistic people above 14 years old in Shanghai, and that only one of them is formally employed.


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