SPECIAL REPORT: Music Gives Autistic Man a Voice - Stacy McCloud
Updated: Thursday, October 17 2013, 03:32 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn -
Every parent dreams of having a perfect child. "We want them to grow up, go to school, get married and bring grandbabies back home" says Darlene Blade of Columbia, Tn.
Darlene and her husband, who were childhood sweethearts, waited a long time for that opportunity. "We got married in 75 and decided 16 years later we wanted to have a child" she says.
On January 8th, 1992 they were blessed with a happy, healthy, 8 pound baby boy. Logan Blade was born into the world seemingly just as perfect as they had imagined. Then about six months after his 1st birthday , Logan started regressing. "He didn't start talking like he should . Mama and daddy and that was it. Also he wouldn't feed himself and that was really a red flag." After several tests, at the age of two, Logan was diagnosed with Autism. All the dreams they had for their son wouldn't come true. "It's almost like a death. You have to grieve of the child you will not have." But soon after his diagnosis they noticed something very special. Many of those with autism are blessed with remarkable talents - usually music or art related. For logan, his parents first noticed his gift when Logan's grandmother put him in front of a television tuned into CMT. "She would bounce him on her knee and he would hum country songs. Every now and then he would say a word of a country song."
From that moment on - music has consumed Logan. He always has his headphones on and coming from them is almost always merle haggard. "He has to have that stimulation. It's never quite around our house. Always music playing."
But Logan doesn't just love music. his mom says he is music. "Logan has found his nitch in life."
You see, Logan doesn't speak and shows little to no emotion - with one exception . "You put that microphone and it's like there is no autism."
Just name a country song and not only can Logan sing and play it, h e can tell you everything about the artist. But Logan isn't only a music historian with perfect pitch, he can also write out a songs manuscript. All this, with no training, just a gift from God. "I'm gonna try not to cry. But it's very rewarding to see him do something he loves." Logan's community of Columbia Tn has embraced him and his talents. Especially those like Tammy Vice, whose daughter also has autism. "To see the gift come out of him,. where he open up and that voice comes out. I can't tell you what hope , as a mother, that brings," says Vice.
Logan just recently released his first studio album "Fitting In". On it you will find a couple of songs by his favorite artist Josh Turner, but others are originals, co-written by Vice and songwriter Tony Ray Jones. "My heart melted for this kid because he's so real. I've never had huge cuts, but it's so great to have him cut that song. That means a lot to me." he says.
Logan sings at all sorts of events around his hometown, he's even performed in Nashville at the legendary Bluebird Cafe. Talents that given his parents a full time management job. "What would two old people be doing at 50 something other than just sitting around. He's really brought us out of our shell."
Music is all Logan knows. Speaking for him, even though he can't. "God give us him for a reason and we are gonna travel this journey" says Darlene.
We also have some great news to pass on to Logan and his family. In the story we mentioned Josh Turner is logan's favorite singer. Darlene told me that Logan would love to meet and maybe even sing with Josh, especially at the Grand Ole Opry. We are happy to tell you that Stacy got in touch with Josh Turner's team and Josh would love to meet logan at the Opry when he performs there later this month.
We will keep you all posted on when that exciting meeting will take place!