Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Autistic pianist admitted to university


Lee Shang-hsuan practices at the piano.


Lee Shang-hsuan (李尚軒), a 19-year-old pianist with multiple disabilities, has gained admission to a local university to further develop his musical talent.

Lee was born with G-6-PD deficiency -- a hereditary, sex-linked enzyme defect that results in the breakdown of red blood cells when the person is exposed to stress from infection or certain drugs.

At the age of threee, he was diagnosed as a "hyperactive autistic child with medium-grade mental disability" -- yet he is gifted with an extraordinary memory for numbers and musical scores.

Undaunted by his multiple deficiencies, his parents have devoted an enormous amount of energy toward developing his musical talent.

Lee began to play piano at the age of four. With his exceptional ability to memorize musical scores,he quickly excelled; his piano teacher praised him as a genius.

Over the past 15 years, Lee has taken part in numerous piano competitions. Last year, he won one of the top honors in a national piano contest for senior high school students.

Lee has gained international fame, capturing two awards in the first international Paralympic piano competition held in Japan last year, and is scheduled to give a piano recital at the National Concert Hall in Taipei on Jan. 27 next year.

Lee graduated from a special school in Nantzu (楠梓), Kaohsiung, last year. Because of his disabilities, he was unable to pass the entrance exams for universities.

Through coordination among the Presidential Office, educational authorities and several universities in the south, Pingtung University finally agreed to admit Lee to the school's special educational resources center so he can continue his musical training.

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