A KAAL TV public-service announcement aired recently while Lucas Horvath worked behind the scenes.
Horvath paid close attention, even though he doesn’t have the medical condition the PSA mentioned. During the PSA, he had an epiphany about making a similar video.
Horvath, originally of Austin, is now a Rochester musician who sings, plays keyboard and loves music, with a focus on 1980s and adult-contemporary compositions. His education centered on audio production and engineering, meaning professionally, he’s trained as an audio tech.
“I was working behind the soundboard and I’m working on the video and I thought, next month is autism-awareness month — let’s make a video about autism awareness,” he said. Autism is a topic that hits close to home, as Horvath has Asperger’s syndrome.
So that’s exactly what he did.
His Facebook video designed to raise autism awareness has been shared more than 100 times.
“I had no idea it would be that impactful,” Horvath said.
Perhaps the reason the video hit home so strongly for many can be attributed to Horvath’s direct approach. He deftly shares his own life lessons.
During a recent interview, Horvath said it’s pretty easy for him to get along with people because he is on the higher end of the autism spectrum. But he emphasizes that “everyone is different” and many people with autism deal with difficult barriers as they navigate life.
“I’m a musician who wants to make it in the industry,” he said. Thus, he hopes people will go to his shows, buy his music and perhaps even develop a new friendship with him.
The best time to work on friendship, he said, is after he performs. Before a show, it’s important for him to instead concentrate on his music.
Songwriters in particular might find Horvath interesting to talk with because he’s constantly writing new songs.
“In fact, I’ve got a half dozen songs in my head right now that I haven’t written,” he said.
Jon Sailer, owner of the Rochester Center for Autism, suggests learning about a person with autism’s personality and celebrating a characteristic that makes that individual special.
“It is important for the public to see the many faces of autism,” he said. “It is also incredibly important for the person with autism. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and talk about yourself in any setting.”
It’s estimated one in every 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism, Horvath said. For that reason, “it’s going to become part of everyone’s everyday experience.”
Thus, Horvath wants people to recognize the talent-gifts people possess, including people with autism. For example, autism can often include a heightened recognition of patterns, which is helpful when trying to learn and play a new song.
Music helps Horvath connect with people, a type of socialization that autism can sometimes hinder.
“When I did that video, I wasn’t necessarily speaking for myself,” he said, “but just the autism community as a whole.”