Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), for most people, may seem like a burden for whoever has it — and their parents — but where some see abnormalities, others see superpowers. Such is the case with 8-year-old Tyler Doi, a young boy with autism whose affinity for wind chimes has brought out his unique ability to differentiate their sounds — which, for many people, usually sound the same.
Studies have shown that people with autism, while deficient in some areas of cognitive function, excel in others. In May last year, researchers from Vanderbilt University found that children with autism were able to track which direction a set of quickly-moving bars moved better than kids without autism. Another study found that adults with autism were more likely to have synesthesia, a condition in which brain connections are mixed, causing one sensory perception to trigger another — a sound causing a person to see colors too, for example.
For Tyler, these enhanced neural connections manifested in the ability to decipher different sounds among wind chimes. Although he initially had an interest in stars and bird feeders, a failed attempt at finding them once resulted in him being introduced to wind chimes. From there, his interest exploded and now he owns up to 100 of them — manufactured mostly by Woodstock Chimes. To show how good he was at identifying each chime, he went up against Woodstock Chime’s owner Garry Kvistad in the “Name-That-Chime Challenge,” which you can see in the rather heartwarming video below.
Woodstock Chimes also decided to dedicate a brand new chime to those with ASD, called “Woodstock Chimes for Autism.” The company also committed to donating 100 percent of the profits from the chime to research and treatment. It is decorated with a colorful puzzle piece to symbolize the mystery that still surrounds the causes and effects of ASD. Some of the latest statistics pins one out of every 68 children with ASD, nearly 37 times more common as it was 30 years ago.