One South Florida couple finds Autism advocacy through their nonverbal son’s relationship with music.


Written by: Stephanie Smith

Through their respective talents and shared experiences, Chris Redding and Serena Spates are a dynamic South Florida couple deeply committed to advocating for their five-year-old autistic son. Chris, an award-winning recording artist, songwriter, producer, and tech entrepreneur, and Serena, a skilled content creator, have harnessed their creativity and influence to raise awareness and support for neurodivergent individuals.

Their advocacy journey began when their eldest son, Christian, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two. The diagnosis was initially a shock, leading to a period of devastation and uncertainty. However, it also became a turning point that prompted the couple to immerse themselves in understanding Autism.

“Learning what nonverbal meant,” recalls Chris, “was something we knew would be life-changing for us.” Soon, Chris, who is also neurodivergent and was diagnosed with ADHD as a young person, started to notice a lot of his son’s strengths. “One of his forms of communication is that he would respond very differently when we played music.”

Drawing from his background as a musician, Chris began incorporating his son into his musical world. “We have a home studio where our son could explore instruments and sounds,” he says. “I began documenting his reactions and interactions with both.” This hands-on approach revealed Christian’s ability to engage with music through vocal echolalia. “That’s where Christian mimics and reiterates sounds.”

These interactions inspired Chris to create an album titled “Visions of Sounds.” This project was explicitly crafted for neurodivergent listeners to provide a sensory-friendly musical experience. “The album blends new age and ambient music with words of affirmation, designed to help listeners feel loved, accepted, and seen,” says Chris. The album, available wherever music is sold or streamed, also includes stimming sounds and repetitive patterns.

The title reflects Chris’s own experience with synesthesia, which occurs when a person can see sounds as colors and images. He believes he shares this trait with Christian.

Serena plays a pivotal role in this journey. Initially unfamiliar with neurodivergence and Autism, she was admittedly scared of what Christian’s diagnosis meant. “We have a completely different perspective now,” says Serena, “and so much hope.” However, she admits it took the family almost two years to process the diagnosis, claim a new reality, and find their footing. Now, they hope to be a resource to others in their community. “This is part of my son’s DNA; we just love and support him.”

Through her content creation, this mom of two shares the family’s experiences, provides resources and fosters a supportive online community. Her platform has become a source of inspiration and education for other parents navigating similar paths.

The impact of “Visions of Sounds” has been profound. The album’s first single, “Level Here,” went viral on TikTok and Instagram, garnering global attention and support. The song resonated with many, sparking a movement where individuals shared dances to the song and celebrated their neurodivergent loved ones. There’s another song, “Beam Me Up,” that the family plays during “let downs,” which is a common experience for those with Autism who have been overstimulated. “Both kids love hearing themselves, the melody, the frequencies, and they love to sing along,” says Chris.

The appeal has not gone unnoticed. “Visions of Sounds” has been featured in Rolling Stone, and the album was considered for a Grammy award, highlighting its cultural and artistic significance.

Looking ahead, Chris and Serena are committed to expanding their advocacy. They are working on new projects connecting art and neurodivergence, collaborating with artists such as Stephan White, who has been nonverbal since childhood and has his own unique journey with Autism. Their emerging goal is to create more platforms for neurodivergent individuals to express themselves through the arts and be celebrated. And, of course, young Christian is ready to get started on album number two.

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