Ethan Walmark is a six-year-old boy diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He has special difficulties with social interaction but his special musical talents have made him an Internet sensation.
The first video shows him playing an impressive rendition of Billy Joel's "Piano Man." Although he is too short to reach the pedals and stands by the piano, he plays an introductory trill with a flourish and goes off, barely looking at the keys while urging the guitar player along: "Sing it together, sing it together...you can do it!"
Daily Mail reports Ethan has 20 videos on YouTube in which he is shown playing hits such as "Maybe I'm amazed," "Prudence," and "Take on Me" by A-Ha. In duet with his sister, he played James Taylor's "Mockingbird."
The Telegraph reports the clip in which he plays "Piano Man" has been viewed about 500,000 times since it was uploaded to YouTube this weekend. A viewer on YouTube, deeply impressed with the boy's performance, points to his T-Shirt with the comment: "The shirt says it all: Superman."
His parents Mike and Alison Walmark, say that at four he was able to play the Beatles "I Will" on the piano by ear. After they realized that he has special piano talents they encouraged him. Mike, his father, said: "We just want our son to be happy, whatever that means to him. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about him."
The Washington Post reports that Billy Joel has seen Ethan play "Piano Man" and he is very impressed with it. He said: "I think I like his intro to 'Piano Man' better than mine. And this kid plays with a lot more energy than me. Maybe he could teach me a few things."
Ethan has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The Washington Post reports that according to the National Institute of Health, autism is “a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication.”
The Washington Post reports Ethan's parents have a donation page on the "Walk Now for Autism Speaks" website.