SEATTLE -- Autism rates are on the rise. This spring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new numbers, estimating that one in every 59 kids has autism. Although we don't know why that is, a Seattle teen is on a mission to help us to better understand the challenges people with autism face.
Elias Capestany's gift is music. Which is why when it came time to pick a topic for his senior project at The Center School in Seattle, he sat down with his guitar.
"The song is about my 20-year-old brother who has autism, Ezequiel," said Elias.
Ezequiel, or Zeque was 2-years-old when he was diagnosed with autism. Now as an adult, his family says he's often misunderstood by people who don't know him.
"He says what you and I are thinking, he says (it) out loud," said George Capestany, Zeque's dad. "No filter, total black and white."
Yet it's what Zeque doesn't say that as his brother was able to capture in the lyrics of his song titled "Ezequiel".
"For me, it's about him and what he sort of deals with every day," said Elias. "How he copes with that and seeing the world through his eyes."
The song begins...
"I feel lost and alone.
Watching things no one knows.
Talking to myself.
Talking to the empty shelf."
Like all of us, Zeque wants to be seen. He wants people to know he loves building LEGOs. He's also a certified scuba diver, and a ski instructor. He also works at McLendon Hardware in Tacoma.
"He wants to be a contributing member to society. No doubt about it," said Zeque's dad, George.
The song helps people understand who Zeque is as a person, and who he wants to be.
"I want to run, be somebody.
I want the chance to make some money.
What's in my head, I only know.
People stare, I can't show."
While the song may have started as a senior project, Elias hopes it goes beyond that, teaching us all a lesson in life.
"I want him to do good. I want him not to be viewed in such a negative way," said Elias. "I love him with all my heart. He's my blood brother. He's very special to me."
"I'll be find just you wait and see.
The world is open and it's waiting for me.
I'll make my mark this way.
I'll find my path someday."
The song, titled, "Ezequiel" is available to download on I-Tunes, Spotify, Google and Amazon, just search Elias Capestany. Proceeds from the song are going to the University of Washington Autism Center to fund research and continue to raise awareness about autism.