Special-Needs Rocker Back in the Spotlight


Scott Siegel, the autistic songwriter and vocalist who leads the Arrest My Sister alternative rock band, is among 11 honorees at the first Genius in Autism Awards, scheduled at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Jan. 10.

Siegel’s parents, Laguna Beach residents Leeni and Michael, as well as the band, signed on early to support fundraising for the Glennwood House, a group home for developmentally disabled young adults expected to open in Laguna Beach in 2012. The band hosts Diversity Dances for special-needs teens and young adults monthly at Laguna’s Royal Hawaiian restaurant.

Lisa Ackerman, executive director of Talk about Curing Autism, a local nonprofit, said more homes like Glennwood House are desperately needed.  “The stats are pretty staggering,” she said.  In 1982, two out of every 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism.  Today, it’s one in 110 children and, in Orange County, one in every 58 children.

Molly Ola Pinney, director of New York’s Global Autism Network, nominated Siegel and the band. “He’s wildly talented,” said Pinney, and a rock-star role model for excelling in the mainstream despite a disability.

Entertainer Bill Cosby and other celebrities will present the awards.

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