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My Once Non-Verbal Son Gets an Audition for "The Voice!"

This guest post is by Dawn Powers, a mother with an exciting announcement about her son Darion. 

My son Darion was nonverbal until a little after the age of 4. Darion had not yet said anything more than momma, dada, and bye bye. When he spoke, Darion sounded like he had a hearing loss. But by 3 he could hear a song once and be able to sing it. He would not only sing it, he would match their voice, almost mimic the music and the lyrics.

During all of Darion’s ups and downs, one thing remained a constant, music. That was his anchor, his rock to hold him down. Even with his up and down battles, though, Darion has always been able to shine through. His struggle with an inability to find his voice still goes on, and the biggest thing being acceptance for who he is. 
We actually moved in December of last year to a different city because of the inability of the his old school district to adapt and accept him for who he is. I do want to say in the little time he has been at his new school, he  has excelled with his voice. Music has become his “rock.” I say rock because Darion would pick up 20-30 rocks every day and put them in his backpack as a way of feeling grounded. 
I would do everything that I could to try and help Darion with his voice. From setting up a chance to meet his idol Chris Daughtry, to  incorporating music into everything we did. By age 16, Darion had really started to develop his own taste in music. We decided to buy Darion a guitar for his 16th birthday. He’s never had a lesson, yet he taught himself how to play guitar. Within days he was starting to actually play songs. Songs like the ones Green Day plays. He was phenomenal.
Darion has always liked music and singing, he just wouldn’t sing in front of people. Since Darion started his new school in November of 2013, he started singing in the school choir. For the first time in Darion’s life he was actually doing it. It was incredible to see him shine with other people watching and saying it. I always knew he was a shining star; I just wanted him to see it. 
A few weeks ago Darion said to me “Mom, I want to audition to be on THE VOICE.” I wasn’t sure exactly what to say. From having a boy whom you’ve protected and advocated for, to want to put him out there, well, it was mind blowing. I told him that if he really wanted to audition I would do whatever it took to get him there and audition. He filled out the form himself and sure enough… HE HAS AN AUDITION ON JANUARY 19TH!!!
This step in Darion’s life is so incredibly important for him. It’s not about being on the show or winning this contest, it’s about finding himself and tackling obstacles and fears. Darion struggles daily. He has severe anxiety and panic attacks, so this is HUGE. Not only is this big for Darion as an individual, but for all children and families that are affected by autism. 
There was a time when he was younger that we were told by professionals that he would be non-functioning and should be institutionalized. I now look at my beautiful boy who has proved so many people wrong. We never lost hope; we just dealt with every day in the moment. 
So to parents and families out there who feel helpless and hopeless, here’s a little hope. Get down on the ground with them, enter their world and NEVER, EVER give up. Darion is showing the world what’s possible with autism and what can be done.
Note: Even though Darion has an audition, we won't know whether he makes it to the TV audition round until the show airs on NBC in February. 

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.