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  A Summerville teen is hoping the power of music will open minds and speak to hearts, in an effort to raise awareness about autism. It's a special project that he hopes will become instrumental in helping others.

For 17-year-old Nathan Miller, music is a blessing. Nathan has autism, and at times finds communicating a challenge. Nathan says, "In some ways it was a little bit of a challenge, but it was also a blessing too. Back when I was in kindergarten I was fairly well behaved but had no idea teacher was talking to me, so my mom had to come in and help me a lot. I started progressing much better, so she started home schooling me starting when I was in first grade. I got ahead in mathematics and music. I've been playing guitar since I was like 10. when I first turned 10, and I started playing the ukulele back in October.

Music strikes a responsive chord in his life, Nathan says, "I'm kind of more focused. It helps me communicate and express myself." Nathan and his dad Keith, a professional musician came up with an idea, a special project to raise awareness and money for Autism Speaks. Nathan recorded a C-D.

It's called Music Speaks, and it's got a compilation CD with some of our friends and music heroes, people like Doyle Dykes, John Knowls, Phil Keaggy, Greg Rowles, Kirby Easler, Haley and Jake Johnson, Greg Neff, Steve McKoy, Dustin Ashenfelder."

Nathan's older brother Marcus also has autism. Nathan says, "He is on the severe end of the spectrum. He's 25 years-old, can't speak. Next to eating, he loves music. In some ways I speak for him through the project. We've basically dedicated our music speaks CD to him. It's called, "When Words Fail, Music Speaks." It's a quote by Hans Christian Anderson."

Keith Miller says, "It's been a bridge, so when we say music speaks from that quote, "When Words Fail, Music Speaks," that's exactly what it's doing. It's actually a form of communication that by-passes the challenges of autism, and goes straight to the heart of people around him, so it's a real blessing that he has that ability. Everyone knows someone who has autism now. They're wired differently, and theirs lives are different, but there is a certain type of value to this people and what they bring. I want that to be an encouragement to people, get that message out when we talk about autism awareness, be aware of the value of people with autism."

Music Speaks features national and local artist, including a grammy award winner. You can buy Nathan's CD "Where Words Fail, Music Speaks" on I-Tunes, and on the website musicspeaksproject.com.

Nathan will have a release party Saturday August second at The Single Smile Cafe in Summerville from noon to 6pm, featuring local musicians, and a several musicians featured on CD. for more information.. lhttp://www.musicspeaksproject.com/og

Photo Credit: Christian Carollo Shutterstock