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Autistic boy's piano cover going viral

14:00 Sat Apr 28 2012
MSN NZ
A six-year-old autistic boy from the United States is becoming an online star for his stirring piano rendition of Billy Joel's hit song 'Piano Man'
A six-year-old autistic boy from the United States is becoming an online star for his stirring piano rendition of Billy Joel's hit song 'Piano Man'

A six-year-old autistic boy from the United States is becoming an online star for his stirring piano rendition of Billy Joel's hit song 'Piano Man'.

Posted online yesterday, Ethan Walmark's rendition of 'Piano Man' has drawn thousands upon thousands of views.

The Connecticut boy first attracted attention for his musical talent at the age of five, when he began playing the piano after years of his father singing to him, the Weston-Redding-Easton Patch reports.

Now aged six he has a host of songs in his repertoire including the Beatles, The Doors and Norwegian pop group A-ha.

His mother Alison Zeiring Walmark said the music helps ease the pain of having an autistic child.

“When people see our son and all the attributes he has, it takes a little of the pain away because I’m in pain 24/7,” Ms Ziering Walmark said.

Ethan has obvious musical talent but his disability makes learning music difficult as he suffers from tantrums and has problems focussing.

While Ethan is on the autism spectrum he is described as highly-functional.

His parents have allowed him to practice music despite the objections of some autism experts who argued it was detrimental because it allowed him to withdraw into a different world rather than focussing on human relationships.

But his parents said they let him play music because it obviously makes him happy.

"We want his life to be as easy as possible so that he can cope with society. And society can cope with him,” Ms Ziering Walmark said.

Ethan's parents have started a charity called E-Team which has raised over US$200,000 (A$192,715) trying to find a cure for autism.