Chimes for Autism: Ontario boy with unique gift inspires new wind chime

Nadine Kalinauskas
Shine On

Tyler Doi, 8, lives near Toronto with his parents, Sean and Alison.

He has autism. And he really loves wind chimes.

Tyler has the "unusual and wonderful" talent of being able to identify chimes by their sounds.

Sean Doi contacted Woodstock Chimes, the largest manufacturer of wind chimes in the world, and shared his son's story.

The company responded with an invitation to their headquarters so Tyler could see their studio.

The Dois drove eight hours to visit Woodstock Chimes in Shokan, New York.

"Tyler flipped out when he saw our testing area outside with hundreds of chimes being checked for weather-ability," writes company founder Garry Kvistad in a blog post. "I was even more touched when he spotted me and ran up to give me a hug. His focus on wind chimes is absolute. I gave them a tour of my music studio which is the home of thousands of instruments, large and small, old and new. Tyler honed in on every one of the hundreds of wind chimes to the exclusion of everything else."

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Tyler and Kvistad then went head-to-head with him in a "name-that-chime" challenge. Tyler knew every single chime by its sound.

"He just knocked us out with his ability to identify our product just by the sound," says Kvistad in a video produced about Tyler and Woodstock Chimes.

The company was so inspired by Tyler and his story that they created a chime in his honour: Chimes for Autism.

"One hundred percent of our profits from the sale of this chime will go to benefit autism research and treatment," writes Kvistad.

The chime was designed specifically to appeal to individuals with autism.

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According to Woodstock Chimes' website:

"One aspect of autism is hypersensitivity to sound. Studies have found that music therapy can assist with some of the challenges attributed to autism. Mozart's music, in particular, has been a blessing for some individuals living with autism. The Woodstock Chimes for Autism features a specially designed clapper, so its soothing tones ring more gently, whether played by hand or the wind. The chime is musically-tuned to a melody from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21."

A wind catcher with multi-coloured puzzle pieces, the international symbol for autism, also hangs from the chime.

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Sean and Alison Doi couldn't be prouder of their son and his unique obsession.

"It'll really be something for me to know that my son's legacy will somehow live on because of that chime," says Sean.