Sam and Jisuk Paek are the proud parents of Tusan Paek. Tusan is an 11-year-old non-verbal autistic boy who can play Mozart, Beethoven and Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major on the piano.
Tusan, a student at Eastern Hills Middle School in Harker Heights, was born in Salem, Oregon, and he moved with his parents to Fort Hood from Germany in July 2019.
His mom is a registred nurse who stayed at home to care for Tusan when he was born, and his dad works at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood as a DoD employee.
The parents found out Tusan was autistic when he was 3 years old.
“We teach ABA, and speech occupational therapy here at home,” dad Sam Paek said. “We work at home on all his special education needs for him. We don’t depend on just the school to educate our son.”
Tusan learned to play the piano on his own by watching Youtube. He has been playing since he was 3 years old.
“We teach him his math and piano at home,” Sam said.
Tusan’s parents are working with him and he is starting to speak some words.
When Tusan was 5 years old, his parents realized how much he liked music.
“When classical music would come on the radio he would just stop and be so calm; he focused all his attention on that music,” Sam Paek said. “I brought him a Mozart CD and he loves it.”
Peak’s parents bought Tusan a piano and he slowly started playing by himself. His parents say he would open Youtube to Mozart and his eyes got big and he listened to it for hours.
Jisuk knows a little about piano.
“We brought sticky notes and put do, ray, me, fa, so, la, ti on the keys. Once we did that, he learned how to play music by himself by watching Youtube.”
When Tuscan was 8 years old, he was in a talent show at school. He played the “Torques March” by Mozart. He didn’t know how to read music but he memorized it.
In addition to classical music, Tusan likes numbers, math, hiking and playing the xylophone.
In his back yard, Tusan has a pool and it’s more than just fun for him.
“The pool is very calming for him, so we moved into a home that had a pool,” his mother said.
“Tusan is a very talented and inquisitive student. He is so incredible and I am so honored and grateful to have such a wonderful student in my classroom. He teaches me things daily,” said Kim Hellen, Tusan’s teacher at Eastern Hills Middle School.
“One day he had all of the teachers in his classroom working out math problems with him. He is awesome,” Hellen said.