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Nonverbal Child with Autism Sings "A Whole New World"

This post is by Kevin Croxton.

A few weeks ago, I was teaching music to a special education elementary class, and  while I was playing viola, a nonverbal autistic 8-year-old boy named Isaac started humming the pitches I was playing. His aid informed me that I needed to hear something, and she pulled out her iPhone and played “Beauty and the Beast,” the Disney duet performed By Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion. Isaac started singing! His words sounded funny, as he doesn’t speak, but his pitch and tone quality was amazing! He used vibrato, and even put in stylings like Peabo Bryson! I was in tears!

After that, I tried to capture him singing on video, so I could share this with others, but he would freeze up and not perform! I was persistent, kept visiting his room, and one day he started acapella singing Peabo Bryson’s other Disney duet “A Whole New World!” I recorded him on my iPhone, took the recording into my recording studio, and discovered that he was singing in the same key as the actual recording!

When I presented Isaac with the recording, he started singing along, so I video taped him on my iPhone, gave the videos to a videographer, and he edited together the video below. After he started singing, his teacher sang him a question….and he answered in song!!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.