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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 66
Gender: Male
Posts: 33,860
Location: Long Island, New York

19 Nov 2022, 5:25 pm

Mount Maunganui DJ plans to light up town for autism

A DJ with autism is hoping to get the community to dance the night away as he aims to light up Mount Maunganui for the second time in as many years.

Daniel Cox is a music-loving autistic person who wants to create awareness for those who identify as being neuro-diverse. He has experienced what it is like to be different his whole life.

“It’s not an easy thing to be in my own world all the time, to live inside my own box.

“We are unlike most people in society,” Cox said.
He said he struggled with interaction and would avoid eye contact, which was often misconstrued by those who did not know him or understand the complexities around his autism.

“I find it very difficult most of the time and felt this was a way of making my condition known, and the traits of having autism.”

Cox said there were many communication barriers and he had experienced bullying at an education institution.

“People used to come up to me and say, ‘you don’t look like someone with autism’,” Cox said.

Now he is holding Light up the Night 2.0, an event to raise awareness for autism. The event will feature music and entertainment and is open to all.

Cox came up with the concept of Light up the Night more than two years ago during the nationwide lockdown as he struggled with isolation from others.

“I found lockdown really, really difficult because I’m quite a social bunny,” Cox said.

Once Cox had the idea, he hit the ground running hosting the first event in October 2020. Cox said he lost a lot of sleep planning and wondering how he could pull it off. With the help of his mum, he refined his idea from an all-night dance party to an event where people could come to socialise and enjoy good music. Light up the Night 2.0 is planned for this month.

“I’m wanting to give another opportunity for people on the spectrum to celebrate themselves as we don’t often get the opportunity to,” Cox said.

Everything for the first event, which was free, came out of Cox’s pocket, but this time he’s secured 10 sponsors. This time he is charging for the event and the proceeds will go to Autism New Zealand.

Despite setbacks due to Covid, he hoped to make this a regular annual event and was already looking ahead to next year.

Cox is hoping to have a 2023 lineup including Sophie Maude-Turner, who he described as an autistic entertainer. He said she “rips it up” as an acoustic artist and he was excited to be in early discussions on having her join Light up the Night.

“Having someone that’s autistic in the next crew will make a huge difference for 2023,” Cox said.

Cox is also mindful of those who may become overwhelmed. He has made sure the venue can accommodate them and an upstairs area has been allocated for those needing time out.

Cox wants to raise awareness, so people understand the challenges he and others who are autistic face daily. He asks for others to have more compassion for people and for society to be more accepting of others’ differences.

“All I ask is that we have a genuine understanding of different people we may come into contact with.

“We’re not all the same,” Cox said.

Yes, there are extraverted autistics. I hope they enjoy their party.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman