BALDWIN, Pa. — During the holidays, you’re likely singing along with your favorite Christmas songs. For one Baldwin Whitehall special needs student, her special gift puts her in tune with singers like Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey.
“The standard way of doing things isn’t always functional for them,” said Heather Kichta-Massie.
At just 3 years old, Daijah Massie was diagnosed with autism. At times, it was a struggle. But last year, Daijah’s mother Heather learned her daughter had perfect pitch. It’s so rare that just one-in-10,000 people have it, including famous musicians like Mozart, Crosby and Carey.
Daijah can hear any note of music, immediately identify it and recreate it on demand.
Her talent wasn’t actually known to Baldwin High School Choir and Music teacher Kris Tanter. Another student stumbled upon it in their partner music class. The class is where special needs students partner up with regular education students and work on life skills using music.
“They were just sitting there playing through a couple of songs together. At some point the students said ‘Daijah, what note am I playing?’ And she was able to say it. Knowing how rare that is and what a coveted skill that would be, it was pretty exciting,” Tanter said.
It was exciting, but it was not a complete surprise for Daijah’s mother.
“She’ll try to correct you on your tone or your note and help you,” said Kichta-Massie.
Through music, Daijah is helping others learn that it is okay to be unique.
“Special needs doesn’t mean that they can’t do everything you can do but it means that they just do things differently, and they have a different set of skills than what we have,” Tranter said.
Cox Media Group