Sunday, 10 January 2010
A friend sent me a clip of autistic 7-year-old Gina Marie Incadendela singing the national anthem for NBA games. It’s amazing for any 7-year-old–her voice sounds like that of someone much older, trained, so on.
So, what is her story? Is she parroting? Somehow it hardly seems likely. If she were deep in autism, the sensory input of a huge crowd would overwhelm her. Yet she seems unfazed. She was once mute, and now isn’t. Not only does she sing, but she talks and has friends, according to her Web site.
Here’s what her Web site says about her recovery: “Gina received various therapies including, occupation, speech and language and behavioral. She is now in a ‘regular’ class at a private school. She still receives therapy at school and at home but, continues to thrive and advance.”
I am guessing that her autism has given her prodigious musical abilities. This is the case for my autistic brother, who can play a number of instruments and has perfect pitch. He can hear a song on a CD once and then sit down and play it on the piano. He has been called a savant. People in the category of having prodigious talents despite disabilities are called savants.
My brother plays bass guitar in a band, the Hi Hopes, including several savants besides himself. It’s in Anaheim, California, near Disneyland. Actually, my brother has been having some depression issues and isn’t performing with the band. But he is rehearsing with them once a week. He lives for this.
My son “Mike” also has perfect pitch. He heard Gina Marie’s sound clip and said she was on pitch. I am guessing she may also have perfect pitch, because she was singing without accompaniment.
Go, Gina Marie!!