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How Music Gave My Grandson A Place in the World

This is a post by Cheryl Hanson, grandmother to 15-year-old electronic music producer and performer John Hanson, who has Asperger Syndrome.

John Hanson, my grandson, aka Subterr Anean, is a 15-year-old electronic music producer/performer.  He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was five-years-old.

John still has difficulty tying his shoes. School lessons are very difficult, especially math; even simple addition, though he has had  years of  tutoring. He also has non verbal Tourettes Syndrome and trouble with ADHD.

But when John takes  the stage, he is in complete control.  He draws the crowd in and delivers a high energy performance. The passion he has for what what he does is clear. John has absolute pitch and perfect pitch. He can tell you what key a cricket chirps in and what key the shopping cart wheels make.

Noise has always been an issue for John. Without his headphones, he finds it very difficult to maintain any composure in a public space. Growing up was difficult for John.  He was placed with me, his grandmother, and I adopted him when he was 4. It was hard for John to interact with kids his age. He was lonely, but despite everything he was the most loving person I had ever known, and always wore a smile.  

Now, John has worked his way up through the music scene and has become known as one of the best electronic performers to ever come out of Pittsburgh. He has gained the respect of local performers and those from surrounding states.  This music has given John his place in the world, his purpose, his calling.  Yes, other parts of life can be difficult, but using his music as his voice, John knows he will someday make a difference to others . John just wants others to see, that no matter what obstacle you have in front of you, if you stay true to what you believe in and not let others tell you otherwise, you will have a fulfilling life.  

Check out John's talent on YouTube here!

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.