Chords for Kids will benefit children with autism

North Central College will host the eighth annual Chords for Kids, a free concert for children with autism and their families, at 7 p.m. March 8 in North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave.

Music and motion come together as children with autism and other special needs enjoy performances of classical music. The college’s concert winds ensemble, under the direction of Lawrence Van Oyen, professor of music and director of bands, will feature a variety of music, including “YMCA” and “Spider Pig” and tunes from “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Aladdin.”

Audience members are free to make noise and move around during the performance.

“‘Wigglers are welcome’ is our motto,” Van Oyen says. “The purpose of the performance is to offer families a night out at a concert without the usual social restraints.”

Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs a child’s social and intellectual development. Its causes and effects are not entirely understood, although diagnoses have dramatically increased in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify about one in 88 American children are on the autism spectrum — a 10-fold increase in 40 years.

Wheelchair seating is available. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call the North Central College box office at 630-637-7469 or visit