Chiptunes 4 Autism is a passion project and fundraising nonprofit started in 2016 by an autistic dad named Gustuf Young (aka Oddioblender, Asperkraken). He grew up around autism his whole life with a nonverbal sister, autistic nephew and his own son who was diagnosed around age 3 before learning he, himself, was autistic.
After becoming interested in chiptune, he realized there were many people out there who, like him, were autistic and expressed themselves more clearly in music. After reading about another chiptune artist’s revelation of their own autism, artists from across the chiptune spectrum, from as far as Indonesia to England to North America, joined forces to create music for compilations that we now distribute through Bandcamp and other services, all for the sake of promoting autism positivity, neurodiversity and empowering people on the spectrum.
In 2017, various people joined us for live showcases to raise money on the spot. We started in bars doing this but quickly moved to festivals like MagFest and ArlingCon to reach a wider variety and more diverse group of people. Our first sensory table was in actuality, a happy accident. New to a con scene and with an empty table, we decided to put out our instruments and gear for people to play with. It was a huge hit.
We now feature these tables at all ages shows and people come in for the sound and visuals – and many stay for the interaction at our tables, where they get to experience musical toys and maker culture firsthand to learn about neurodivergence from actual neurodivergent people. We have sensory tools on-hand to show people what they have at their disposal to deal with things when they are overloaded. We bring tools to empower people on the spectrum and to educate those who are willing to learn. Come for the show, stay for the knowledge! (And some fun auditory exploration / interaction!)
We are small but we have a lot of heart. If you’re autistic, we want you to know the ways you can express yourself. If you just want to help, we are glad to have you here. And if you just like listening, that’s great too. Thanks for being here. You are incredible.