Nearly 10 years ago after Lance Vardon’s family was featured on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, he sat down with Stevie Wonder to play the piano together. Although his mother, Judy, could not hear him, she did notice a glimmer on her son’s face. It was that moment in time when she decided to dedicate herself to sharing her son’s gift, even though she could not appreciate it.
Lance’s love for music has aid him in overcoming challenges as well as assisted him to function better in his everyday life, according to those who are close to him. “I can see people’s face(s) while they watch Lance (as a) performer,” said Judy, who is deaf. According to her, there are people who tear up, smile and others who seem very concerned. However, she feels that this is God’s gift Lance gives to people.
Lance, who is both blind and autistic, plays the piano for the Berkley High School orchestra, which has been his endeavour since middle school. Although he is unable to see the keys when he play, this has not prevented him from learning by ear. It was because of his determination that allowed him to become his school’s pianist for the concert orchestra and visit New York City and Washington, D.C., with the ensemble. During both occasions, the orchestra won the national awards for orchestra competitions.
The 22-year-old suffers from a severe case of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. It is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in interaction and communication. Both of his parents are deaf as well. Despite all the struggles he had to deal with, he still persevered and made it through the ranks of the Berkley school system. Currently, he is in the transitioning phase to Berkley’s post-high school program for special needs students between the ages of 18 to 26 years old.
Lisa Barnett, Lance’s music therapist, mentioned that he continues to amaze even though she has been working with him since he was a child. She also added that his love for music has led to enhanced socialization. “Where words fail, music gets through. It’s been a little odyssey with Lance, but music has been a tool to bring him out of his isolation,” explained Lisa, who has been in music therapy ever since she graduated from Michigan State University back in 1981. For more of the story, you can read it here.
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