The nonprofit organization, Spin the Spectrum, based in Dallas, Texas, combines the science of speech pathology with the art of DJing to help people with neurodiverse communication needs and learning styles. Jay*Clipp, founder of the Keep Spinning DJ Academy, and Courtney Willis, founder of Speech Wings Therapy, teamed up to create the world’s first and only DJ and music production school that specializes in instructing students with autism spectrum disorders and all forms of neurodivergency earlier this year.
Spin the Spectrum is the nation’s first and only DJ school specializing in training neurodiverse kids and adults, founded by speech pathologist Courtney Willis and multi-hyphenate Jay Straughter (also known by his stage name, Jay*Clipp). Spin the Spectrum gives students of all ages and skill levels vocational programming through DJ and music production instruction.
A two-to-one instructor-to-student ratio allows for classes that are tailored to each student’s needs. Each student receives one-on-one instruction from Straughter, who has collaborated with performers like Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Dave Chappelle, Spinderella, and Willis, a social communication disorders expert. The core value of Spin the Spectrum is inclusivity.
“At Spin the Spectrum, you don’t have to pass any kind of test. You don’t have to be at any level,” Willis says. “There’s no such thing as a kid that’s too this or too that to learn how to DJ. If they want to do this, then we’re going to figure out a way to teach them.” According to Willis, DJing is a good career choice for people with neurodivergent traits because language and music share similar neurological development.
People are able to integrate into social settings while maintaining regulation thanks to technology, gaining a sense of control over their sensory environment and the social norms associated with the DJ profession. The intake procedure for the program starts with a discussion that includes parents and participants. Goals are collaborative as well as student-led, and so are the individualized strategies Willis and Straughter use to ensure instruction is effective, efficient, and works for each student’s unique brain.
About Spin The Spectrum
Spin The Spectrum is a nonprofit organization that promotes the active integration of neurodiverse and autistic people into society through academic, leisure, and career-focused DJ training and music production programs.