Ahmed Al Mousawi, the 12-year-old piano prodigy who plays Beethoven, Mozart and Bach

Autistic Emirati boy has won several awards for his great talent

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Ahmed Al Mousawi, 12, is an accomplished pianist. The Emirati, who has autism, enjoys the rhythm of songs and recognises all notes.

He received the Talent Award from the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism this year, and, in October, he came first in a piano competition at the Ammar Award for Supporting Creative People with Disabilities 2022 in Riyadh.

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He would play a musical note without receiving any lessons or being taught how to play
Eiman Al Aleeli, Ahmed's mother

Ahmed can play pieces by Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, and composes his own music.

His mother, Eiman Al Aleeli, told The National that in 2012 doctors said Ahmed, who was then a year and eight months old, had autism.

“We took him to many doctors after he stopped talking or making eye contact,” said Ms Aleeli.

After assessments confirmed her son's condition, Ms Aleeli, 44, said she devoted most of her time to supporting Ahmed while her husband looked after their other three children.

“I am blessed with a loving husband. He is a dedicated father and family man who is taking care of all the needs of our other three children since I am giving 90 per cent of my time to Ahmed,” she said.

Enrolling Ahmed in kindergarten and then in school was a big challenge.

“One kindergarten told me accepting Ahmed in their facility would tarnish their reputation,” Ms Aleeli said.

“Later on, many schools refused to accept him, with one telling me straight to my face that they do not accept disabled children.”

Ahmed spent two years in an autism centre before he joined Al Yasat Private School in Abu Dhabi. He has been in the school for the past five years.

“His school is very co-operative and supportive. They brought in a shadow teacher for him. His peers and everybody in the school love and encourage him,” she said.

It was when her son was about seven years old that Ms Aleeli noticed his talent for music and encouraged him.

“He would play a musical note without receiving any lessons or being taught how to play,” she said.

So far, music teachers from Russia, Ukraine and Italy who heard about Ahmed, told her they were impressed by his talent.

“They said what Ahmed can do is very rare, and one of them said he had never seen such a talent,” she said.

Ms Aleeli said an Italian music teacher in Abu Dhabi’s Youth Orchestra contacted them and was keen to meet Ahmed.

“When he met him, he asked Ahmed to look away while he played on the piano and asked Ahmed about the notes he just played. Ahmed recognised all of them,” she said.

Finding solace in music

Ms Aleeli said Ahmed practises the piano for two hours a day and uses music to express himself.

“It's hard for him to show his feelings, so he does that by playing the piano. Music is his life,” she said.

“I know if he was sad, happy or in a fight with his brothers when he plays the piano.”

Ms Aleeli said when she read about the competitions online, she applied on her son's behalf.

“He was very happy to win, and everyone is proud of him. His school keeps sharing his achievements to the extent that people in school now don’t know me by my name, they know me as Ahmed’s mother,” she said.

She said Ahmed’s older brother, Ali, 17, and his younger brother, Abdullah, 10, are close to Ahmed and understand his condition.

“It was difficult at first, and they certainly had questions about some of his behaviour, but they now understand and are supportive,” she said.

The youngest sibling, Eisah, 7, is too young to understand.

“But they are all close to one another and share a very beautiful relationship,” she said.

Updated: January 02, 2023, 4:25 AM
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