The Vawters: Family Support Story #8

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I first met the Vawters while leading a drum circle for the Freehold Special Scouts troop 454, where they earned the music merit badge. 

The gig had resulted from a referral I had received from a woman I met at a different special needs drumming event that her child attends.  So it was a nice little connection.

I met the father, Jamie Vawter, and we talked about having me at his home to do private lessons and drumming for his family, which included his elderly mother, a delightful woman I might add, and his son Zach, who is 20 years old with low-verbal Autism.

I first did a private drum circle for them and their extended family and friends, where I got to meet everyone, and then we started private instruction for Grandma and Zach, working on piano, singing, and rhythm.  

Grandma had had several strokes in her later years, and had mostly lost or forgotten her lifelong ability to perform on piano.  At one time she was even the church pianist. So with her, we spent most of our time warming up the memories of scales, and chords.  We experimented with pressure free improvisation, and tinkered with classics like Silver Bells, Ode To Joy, and Heart and Soul. Sadly, Grandma passed shortly before this blog was written, but she is fondly remembered with every visit to see Zack. 

With Zack, we work on reading sheet music, something he is very quick with actually, and performance which includes two handed piano playing, and singing.  Zack and I are currently working on memorizing songs without any sheet music.  

Zack’s father exhibits such passion for family, and displays such a good heart, that it is a privilege to be able to help serve his family.  As a family, they have excellent energy and are so very generous. Jamie, who is freshly retired, will be launching a Special Needs company (Special Wins) and I look forward to seeing what he does with it, as his creativity and devotion runs deep. 

My relationship with the Vawters is pretty fresh, having only started in 2018, but I’m looking forward to what the future brings 

The Take Away From This Story:

Family members who are given all the support that they need can accomplish anything, whether you are an elder who has had health challenges, or if you are a young adult with a learning or developmental disability.  Family support is everything. 


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