Sometimes affinities cluster around familiar themes (anime, maps, Disney.) Other times, as in the case of Tyler Doi’s affinity for wind chimes, they are delightfully idiosyncratic.
In this video, see what happens when Tyler steps outside of his room, with its vast collection of chimes, and into the headquarters of Woodstock Chimes, whose collection is even vaster. (Woodstock, we learned, is the largest manufacturer of wind chimes in the world.) I don’t want to reveal too much, but there’s even a “Name That Chime” challenge between Tyler and Woodstock’s leader, the affable Garry Kvistad.
Reflecting on Tyler’s deep affection for the slight shifts in tone between each chime, Garry notes: “He can hear more than what most people can hear in a sound, because he’s inside of it.” Of course, this is something Alison and Sean Doi, Tyler’s parents, long understood, and rang true to us as well.
In particular, upon hearing Tyler’s story we found ourselves thinking about the time Owen met Don Hahn, who produced Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Ron wrote about this in Life, Animated:
Owen talks about his first call with Jonathan, how he told him Aladdin was about “accepting who you really are, and being okay with that,” and Don tells him that for each movie, they post the main idea above the drafting rooms to inspire the animators: ”Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” for Beauty and the Beast; Remember Who You Are” for The Lion King. All I can think of after this exchange is how Owen’s interpretation, what he sees, goes so much deeper.
“You’ve figured us out—it’s not fair,” Don laughs. But, in a moment, he sees it, too: “You see so much more in these stories than most people.”
“People with autism are everywhere, and they need to be appreciated for what they can contribute to the community,” says Jamey Wolff from the Center for Spectrum Services, who is featured in the video. We couldn’t agree more.
What stories like Tyler’s, Owen’s, and the others featured on this site make clear is that those contributions can be immense, sometimes even beyond the mental reach of neurotypical people. Why? Because those with autism often, as Don Hahn put it, “see so much more” in their areas of interest than neurotypical people.
We’ll say it again: Those with autism often “see so much more” in their areas of interest than neurotypical people. (Or hear so much more, in Tyler’s case.)
As a result of their encounter with Tyler, Woodstock Chimes developed Chimes for Autism, 100% of the net profits from which will go to autism research and treatment– “and we’re very proud of that,” says Garry.
So are we. Contact between these two worlds can be transformative. We hope more and more people will continue to realize that, and fewer and fewer people with autism will be left behind.