British Columbia

Music helps DJ with autism find his voice

Kyle Brochu says music helps him communicate in a way that he had never been able to before

Kyle Brochu says music helps him communicate in a way that he had never been able to before

Kyle Brochu (left) is a Prince George DJ and electronic music producer who has autism. (audioBoom)

Growing up with autism, loud noises and crowds were often some of the biggest triggers for Prince George's Kyle Brochu.

But when Brochu started making music as a teenager, and eventually found himself deejaying, cranking out loud tunes in front of a crowd turned out to be comforting.

That's when Brochu, a self-described "shut-in hermit", realized that he had found his voice.

"I definitely think it's compensation for not having that social acceptance in everyday life," he told Daybreak North.

"Music has really influenced me by giving me an avenue for self actualization — a way to communicate concepts and feelings that I probably never would have been able to until that point."

Today, Brochu, a DJ and electronic music producer, goes by the alias Digital Shadow. Before he discovered music, Brochu says he always found it difficult to interact with others in social settings.

"One of the major differences in an autistic mind compared to a neuro-typical mind is those lack of filters, and a very common effect of that is sensory overload, or there's too much coming in," he said.

"You can't handle it all so you just need to shut down and go back off for a while. Most people see that, and that's what they associate — they see a disability … basically a withdrawal from the world, but they don't see the other end, which is so highly involved and so present."

Brochu says autism is a spectrum disorder. Rather than view it as a disability, people should simply see it as "a difference," he said.

"There's many different ways of doing things and if it works, it works," he said.

To hear the full story, listen to the audio labelled: Prince George DJ with autism speaks out

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