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Communicating through music: How a teen with autism brings cheer at Tampa International Airport

A severe speech delay doesn't stop Milosz Gasior from making a cheerful impact. The teen is spending his weekends at the keyboard in TPA.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you've been through Tampa International Airport in recent weeks, you may have been greeted with some live piano music. That extra holiday cheer is all thanks to Milosz Gasior

He's 19 and can flawlessly play through dozens of Christmas songs. Hearing him, it's obvious he's a talented musician. His mother credits that talent to endless hard work.

"He's a titan of work," Bozena Gasior, Milosz's mom, said. "He's a hard-working young man. And pretty much everything that he can do right now is hours upon hours of playing and practicing."

The holidays are some of the busiest times of year in airports. In the hustle and bustle of it all, it's the teen's music that stops people in their tracks mesmerized.

"You can tell there's something special going on," Mark Schoenfeld said. "You can feel it. He's feeling something through playing the piano."

Playing the piano is impressive. Playing with severe autism is what makes Gasior an inspiration to his mother. 

"Every single time, we're blown away, this young man cannot have a pretty simple conversation, but can memorize and play 8 pages of complicated and advanced music," his mom said.

One of the people who stopped to listen in, Schoenfeld, isn't just any airport traveler. He's a screenwriter and broadway playwright. He's currently working on a project with Hugh Jackman. 

"Seeing a young boy, an autistic boy, play the piano, which is how he communicates, that is what my show 'Music Boy' is about," Schoenfeld explained. "It's about how music heals. It's a universal language. And it heals."

Schoenfeld said it was no coincidence he was traveling through Tampa International while Gasior was playing.

"It's just gorgeous," Schoenfeld said of the performance. 

Gasior was diagnosed at a very young age. He has a severe speech delay, so his music does most of the talking for him.

"His brain is differently wired and differently working," his mom said. "But he can bring so much joy to so many people. And most importantly, he is happy at this moment."

Bozena Gasior said that's all a parent can want for their child – for them to be happy. She hopes in sharing her son's story, it'll offer hope to other parents navigating a new diagnosis.

The teen will be graduating high school soon. His mother has been looking for local college music programs that accommodate people of all intellectual abilities. 

If you're interested in hearing Gasior perform, he'll be at TPA on Dec. 24.

Malique Rankin is a general assignment reporter with 10 Tampa Bay. You can email her story ideas at mrankin@10tampabay.com and follow her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

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