Students with autism form jam band

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Updated: 4/08 11:19 pm

ALBANY, N.Y.— A local jam band's message goes beyond the room they’re playing in.

Jihad Pittman is a 16-year-old who carries a great beat on drums and is truly remarkable. Pittman has autism which makes his expressive language very limited.

"As somebody who loves music, I understand how well we can communicate through music," Ann Woelfersheim, a board certified music therapist said.

Woelfersheim has been a music therapist at St. Colman's since 2008. Pittman was ten-years-old when he came to St. Colman's and communicated via a device similar to an iPad.

Woelfersheim noted that Pittman wanted to share music with others. His lead teacher at the time found him in the corner of the room one day with a mirror practicing.

"'Will you come to music with me?'" Woelfersheim described. "All on his own."

Pittman and his band, Jam Band, practice on Fridays at 1 p.m. Members have come and gone, but Pittman has sat through every session.

"They do it because the music helps them, because they're motivated to have fun, and they see that now they've got friends," Woelfersheim said. "They've got peers that they can work with."

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