According to one survey, 10 percent of children born in the United States are “cured” of their disabilities, a number that exceeds that of the general population. (As to how to measure the success rate, only 20 years have passed since a group of deaf children, most of them blind, began a singing craze across the United States when a blind girl, then in kindergarten, developed a remarkable voice that would make her an icon of the “Cul-de-Sac Generation,” a group that included Dorothy Sayers, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Susan Boyle, and other popular voices.)
But a child isn’t so much an organist (unless they have an ear) as a composer, an entertainer, an acrobat—or in the case of Charlie Moller, an actor. In addition to becoming an acclaimed and widely-seen performer, Charlie has also enjoyed success as an actress; as a singer; an actor and a writer; and, of course, a comedian. He is, by all accounts, an incredibly bright and capable person, an avid reader (he prefers nonfiction; his favorite books are “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” and “The Great Gatsby” with its “high-living and anti-establishment spirit”), a good-humored and selfless family man, and the kind of human being who can be as charming as he is talented.
But even as Charlie Moller has flourished, other disabled folk like Bobby Riggs, a boy who had been born with a genetic condition and who was born deaf, has been unable to break through the stifling barrier of silence. Riggs, who went by his stage name, Mr. Bobby, for most of his life, was born without aural, visual, or tactile cues for vocal sounds. He grew up mostly in the shadow of his more-experienced fellow students, and spent most of his time listening to his teachers and parents in silence, with little direct opportunity to break through the silence.
But in 2013, when Bobby was 12 years old, he was invited to audition for the school’s singing competition and won, beating out 17 other kids in his age group. He performed on stage for the school’s whole graduating class in December, an outpouring of adoration that resulted in his graduation in May. “I’m still a little bit nervous,” he says, but “I know what’s going to happen now,” and he knows it will happen
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