By Jos Weale
This is the amazing moment a man who cannot talk or have any physical contact due to his severe autism sang a duet for the very first time – and even HELD HANDS with his singing partner.
Kyle Coleman, 31, from Cornwall, has classic autism and can only speak single words and phrases but has found the means to express himself through song.
His proud mum Caroline Coleman, 52, said his bond with music and special friend Lottee Brown, 16, has allowed him to connect physically and emotionally with another person for the first time ever.
And she said the sight of Kyle and Lottee, also from Cornwall, joining their voices for a touching rendition of Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach’s ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ brought a tear to many eyes – and has racked up more than 750,000 views on social media.
Caroline said: “Kyle had never sung with anyone before. Lottee is so lovely with him. It was really magical to see. It’s that connection with music that they both have.
“He doesn’t normally let people touch him. When she first held his hand he jumped a little bit, and then seem to think ‘it’s okay, it’s Lottee’.
“She just holds his hand and he lets her. He calls her ‘cousin’, so you can tell how close they are. I hope that they can continue to sing together. Kyle blossoms and grows every day.
“I’m very proud, but actual more in awe of him. If you said to me a few years ago when he was like a fortress that he would be this singer I never would have believed you. I couldn’t reach him.
“He is unable to have a conversation. Music has rescued him from all of that.
“It’s the way he finds an outlet. His room is filled with hundreds of CDs and he chooses songs to communicate and express how he is feeling. He knows all the words to all of the songs.
“He used to go to college but it wasn’t really working out. When he left we were told that he was always happy engage with music there and we were advised to try out some music therapy .
“That was the most important piece of advice we’ve ever had – we haven’t looked back since.
“He can sing along to songs and we also discovered he can play along to melodies on the keyboard.
“He has a very seventies style, I’d love to take him to San Francisco one day where it’s still very seventies out there.
“He’s into anything by Bread and he’s also very fond of Robbie Williams.”
The duet is another huge milestone for Kyle, who was diagnosed with autism when he was three and has now qualified as a life musician, helping his mum run music classes for parents with autistic children.
He began having music therapy in 2012 and five years ago Caroline sought out extra vocal training for him through Cornwall vocal coach Vikki St Leger.
It was Vikki, 49, who brought Kyle together with another of her students – Lottee Brown.
Kyle and Lottee’s performance, which has over 750, 000 views on social media, was shot in Vikki’s studio at her home, which is set up as a musical and sensory feast for her students – many of whom suffer with learning difficulties or autism.
Kyle’s singing partner Lottee has overcome great adversity herself to become confident enough to show off her powerful voice in public, according to mum Victoria Williams.
Victoria, 43, said her daughter has been the victim of bullying due to her powerful voicenwhich has had a huge impact on her mental health.
The brave teen now raises money for charity as an ambassador for Bullying UK and Children’s Hospice South West.
And proud mum Victoria says the way Lottee cares for Kyle is just part of her gentle nature.
Wedding planner Victoria said: “Lottee was getting messages from people saying that they hoped she died of throat cancer, and she even started to believe she would develop the disease.
“She had to have counselling and she’s now developed a stage persona. She never gets scared on stage, she’s sung for thousands of people.
“Lottee adores Kyle. She’s always trying to get him to do more. They can communicate non-verbally as well through the music.
“We weren’t sure how it would go when we tried them singing together for the first time because Kyle likes to sing on his own.
“But when he joined in and she held his hand we were all in tears watching them.”
Lottee and Kyle made a successful debut public performance together this March and both Victoria and Caroline are excited to see what the pair will do next.
Vikki said: “Kyle has such a soulful voice, and Lottee just lives, eats, breathes music.
“I’m not sure I would put him with anybody else, she’s so gentle with him. Music transcends everything, I think that’s why it works.”