25-month-old Bo Gray was diagnosed with Down syndrome at an early age. Soon after birth, he developed heart issues. Doctors solemnly told his parents that he wouldn’t be able to speak for a long time. But they were wrong.
Bo comes from a musically inclined household. His eleven-year-old sister, Lydia, is a talented acoustic guitarist with a soft voice, and his parents are no singing slouches, either.
At a young age, Bo’s parents would serenade him with “You are My Sunshine” while dealing with heart problems in his hospital bed.
According to Genius.com, the lyrics to the chorus of “You are My Sunshine,” originally popularized by Jimmie Davis and later covered by musical legends such as Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, are as follows: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine / You make me happy when skies are grey / You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you / Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
His loving sister would often grab an acoustic guitar and sing him that very song. This started at a young age, and performances could be seen at holiday and family events.
Eventually, Bo began attempting to sing along. At first, he would roughly try to match sounds and word fragments, with much effort.
But soon enough, Bo made music.
With his talented older sister on the acoustic playing “You are My Sunshine,” Bo sang out his first word – “happy.”
A beautiful and fitting moment. It’s somewhat poetic – his first words coming to the song his family has been singing to him all his life. Not only are the lyrics beautiful, especially given the context, but for his first word to be “happy” only makes it sweeter.
Although Bo has faced a plethora of early hardships, perhaps his life will be filled with happiness, surrounded by a family that loves him deeply. They even sent a video to ABC News soon after his first words.
The Gray family thanks this spontaneous music therapy for Bo’s quick learning. Music therapy can manifest in a variety of ways, whether strictly listening to or singing music, and has helped many strengthen specific skills or overcome certain obstacles, according to musictherapy.org. In Bo’s case, music therapy has accelerated his understanding and pronunciation of certain words, outpacing his doctors’ predictions.
Bo has learned about a dozen words this way. Although music therapy has been at the core of his rapidly growing vocabulary, his family’s affection and devotion has been the true catalyst. Through their combined love, Bo will be singing for the rest of his life.
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Source: ABC News