From Heartache to Hope: Featured Story

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Photo–protected by copyright: From Heartache to Hope photographer and book collaborator, Rebekah Pope

The Blade Family

At 17, Logan Blade is
somewhat intense
–not much on chitchat. Earphones plugged in or not, the rising
senior is tapping a perpetual beat with his feet and fingers and singing a
sweet-voiced tune in perfect pitch. A digital metronome is stuffed into the
back pocket of his blue jeans. Music was literally Logan’s first language. No
words formed on his lips until nearly age five. Then, it was a smattering of
words excerpted from country music songs. Next, he was singing the songs.

His parents, Darlene and
Terry, waited 16 years for their only child
. A once lively baby suddenly, at 18
months, lost his joy. His giggles and smiles stopped. No language was forthcoming.
A diagnosis of autism initially devastated the couple. But the sadness began to
lift, says Darlene, when they found the ASMT, a Middle Tennessee autism support organization. “Finally, someone knew what we were going through. We allowed ourselves
to grieve for the lost dreams we had for our child, and then we began to
rejoice in Logan’s strength and determination.” Darlene now serves as an ASMT
Contact for Maury County.

Logan is a five-year member
of the Culleoka Chorus
Show Choir where he has performed on piano and sung solo
in addition to performing solo at Nashville’s famed Blue Bird Café. It was a
difficult day when Darlene had to opt for a job-training track for her son
because of his inability to pass state testing standards for algebra. “I wish
he could get a college degree, but that’s not in the cards for us,” she states
with calm acceptance. “Everyone’s asking us: ‘What’s next?’ I don’t know what’s
next! I just want him to do something at least remotely connected to music. It
is his gift and what he loves most.”

This story is taken from our book, From Heartache to Hope: Middle Tennessee Families Living with Autism. It is the first story from the book to appear here, although not the first image from the book to be published here. I'll be signing books at Whole Body, Hill Center, Green Hills, from 12-2 tomorrow, Sat., April 17. Please stop by! Your support is needed and welcome. Click here for a list of three more events on two end of town next weekend, Sat. April 24.

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