Seattle-based rock band, The Van Dammes will be donating a portion of the proceeds for their first CD, “Missing in Action” to several autism-related charities.
Lead drummer Devin Louis Miller was inspired in this move by his younger brother Timmy, who was diagnosed at age 5 with autism, Miller convinced his band-mates to donate half of the profits from their first CD. Timmy, now 10, is “doing very well, thanks to the tremendous work of doctors and scientists working on disorders across the autism spectrum,” noted the big brother, who wants to make sure others diagnosed with similar conditions get the same exceptional treatment.
“It was pretty clear almost from the time he was born that he was a developing slowly, in terms of speaking and other normal behaviors, and nobody was really shocked when they told my parents it was autism,” Devin Louis Miller said.
The surprising part, he added, was how much the doctors who took Timmy’s case understood about pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) and how much they were able to help him once the diagnosis was confirmed.
“It was amazing,” the musician said. “Once they determined that it was autism, they were really able to understand Timmy and help him. And just as importantly, they were able to explain things to my parents and help them deal with the situation.”
Recognizing the difference between mild autism, severe autism and other PDDs is vital to developing an appropriate treatment plan. Some patients diagnosed and treated at an early age have been known to “outgrow” the condition, making it even more imperative that Timmy’s autism was detected when he was relatively young.
The boy has progressed so well, according to his big brother, that he’s on target to attend a mainstream middle school for eighth grade next fall. “Timmy’s an amazing kid and he’s made great progress,” Devin Louis Miller said. “There’s no doubt that the excellent care he’s received over the past four-and-a-half-years has done wonders.”
That’s exactly what the drummer had in mind when he convinced his fellow Van Dammes to donate some of the profits from “Missing In Action” to several autism-focused charities, including the San Diego, Calif.-based Autism Research Institute and Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group with offices in New York City, Princeton, NJ, and Los Angeles, Calif.
“I just want to help,” Devin Louis Miller noted. “This is really my first chance to donate to the cause. There are a lot of other kids out there like Timmy and they need a fighting chance.”
Some other musicians that have donated to autism-focused charities are Maroon 5, Five for Fighting and Celine Dion.