Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 19th 2017 Contents people A25
Sunday, February 19, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Music, school help Rory
overcome Asperger's Syndrome
Rory Garcia loves music.
Diagnosed with Asperger's
Syndrome (AS) at the age of nine,
he has been able to beat the odds
and excel at music. Garcia, 21,
has been blessed with musical
talent. He plays the guitar and
When he was seven, his aunt
bought him his first guitar and since
then, with constant motivation and
encouragement from his father, Rory
(Snr) and his maternal grandmother,
Alma, he has shown how hard work
and determination allowed him to
succeed in the field of music despite
the challenges of having AS.
AS is a disorder that falls on the
autism spectrum. Its symptoms
include difficulties in social inter-
actions, repetitive patterns, and
lacking non-verbal communica-
tion skills. The cause is unknown,
and the primary treatment involves
Garcia, who is from Arouca, is
currently in his fourth year at the
College of Science, Technology and
Applied Arts of T&T (Costaatt),
studying an associate's degree in
Performing Arts (Music). He has a
grade point average of 3.48.
"I love music. It's been a passion
since childhood," he said during an
interview with the Sunday Guardian
at Costaatt's spanking new Chagua-
nas campus on Connector Road.
Garcia attended El Dorado Sec-
ondary School and attained passes
in six subjects after he wrote the
Caribbean Secondary Education
Certificate. It was his grandmoth-
er, Alma who pushed him to pursue
music at tertiary level. He said he
will be forever grateful for the key
role she played in his life. Alma died
a few weeks ago.
Garcia's dad explained some of the
challenges his son has experienced
He said Garcia likes things in a
certain order without disruption.
"He would get tantrums at times.
He likes things in a particular way
but is getting better at understand-
ing that not everything could be the
same way all the time. He is getting
Garcia had problems associating
with people but music has helped
him surpass some of those chal-
lenges, especially since he started
his music programme at Costaatt.
His dad said, "From where he
was when he started at the Autis-
tic Society, there has been a drastic
However, enrolling at Costaatt
was not easy.
Chair of the Performing Arts
Nadine Gonzales said Garcia came
in and auditioned but he needed to
She said, "We asked him to go
and work on his guitar a little and
a semester later he had improved.
He was far better.
"The repertoire he is playing now
is not for the average person who has
had only two school terms."
Gonzales said she was certain
Garcia will accomplish great things.
He is at level four in the guitar and
in secondary level piano.
Garcia urged other students or
anyone with setbacks or obstacles
"to dig deep"
"I have to do it at times, too. Push
yourself and dig deep," he said.
He has hopes of becoming a mu-
sic teacher and wants to make and
produce music one day.
As for his dad, "I am proud of him
and I always tell him. There's are
times when he is unsure of himself
but from where he was and where he
is now, it is a great difference.
"He has become more vocal. Some
people don't know he has it (AS) or
Always up for a challenge
"I don't like people watch me do
certain things like clean or study,"
Garcia said as he recounted how he
cleaned the house one time. He said
he never wanted anyone's help and
it was done so well, family members
thought it was an uncle.
He said, "I know it would make
people happy. Sometimes they
wouldn't believe I did it and no mat-
ter how long it took, I did it. I like
to challenge myself and get things
done." Surrounded by an extended
family who constantly provide him
with support and advice, Garcia said
his grandfather always reminds him
that "when you put your mind to so
something, 99 per cent of the work
is already finished"
While he was a young child, Alma
noticed "something different" about
Garcia and decided to take him to
the Autistic Society. It was there
that his musical talent was further
Even as his skills blossomed with
his AS challenges, Rory (Snr) said,
"From the time we got the diagnosis
that he had high functioning AS, his
grandmother and I never treated him
with sorry. From the get go we said
this is what it is and we encouraged
him to do his best at anything he
wanted to do, and music was what
he choose." Garcia's voice is soft and
low. There was no doubt that mu-
sic was his passion. His eyes would
light up each time he spoke about
the guitar or piano or someone who
"I love listening to Beethoven,
Claude Debussy, Fitzroy Coolman
and David Rudder. Music is my
motivator," he said. He said he puts
in about three to four hours a day
practising on the instruments and
that completing his associate's de-
gree would be in his grandmother's
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Rory Garcia, who has Asperger's Syndrome, plays the piano at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts
of T&T, Chaguanas campus. PHOTO: RHONDA RAMBALLY
Rory posing with his grandmother, Alma Garcia.
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