Cheap Trick to Headline Rock Your Speech Autism Benefit Concert

Cheap Trick‘s typically crowded concert calendar is as packed as ever between now and the end of the year — but the band made room for one very special extra date that’s particularly near and dear to bassist Tom Petersson’s heart.

As Petersson discussed in a recent Huffington Post profile, Cheap Trick will travel to Los Angeles early next month to headline a benefit show for Rock Your Speech, an organization he co-founded with his wife Alison that’s dedicated to helping children diagnosed with autism — specifically through the use of music, a technique the Peterssons started investigating after their son Liam was diagnosed.

Noticing that Liam responded to certain songs, Petersson set about making new ones specifically geared to his needs. “Music in general draws most people in, so we started doing songs for Liam because we realize he didn’t sing along normally with other music because it was too complicated,” he recalled. “‘What if we did some songs that were simple lyric-wise, but with heavy rock?’ He took right to it. He loved it.”

In addition to the Rock Your Speech benefit show, which is scheduled for Dec. 2 at the Orpheum, the organization put together an album, Rock Your Speech Vol. 1, which was released last year. It’s all part of an outreach effort that’s enriched the Peterssons’ lives while helping other families navigate the condition’s unique demands.

“It’s turned into something,” said Petersson of the organization. “We love our son, and we really want to help other parents and to let people know they’re not alone, ‘Here’s what we did in this situation.’”