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EAST ELMHURST — Music can be a form a self-expression, and for kids who have special needs, it provides a unique way to communicate with others.

One piano teacher in East Elmhurst has found the ability to connect with her students and transform their lives.

Jeancarlo was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old. Today he’s playing classical music and wowing his family, thanks in part to his teacher.

Jeancarlo’s father had tried various activities, including baseball and horseback riding, but it was piano that ignited his spirit.

“When he feels anxious, he just goes to the piano and calms down, it’s like music therapy for him.”

Adriana Serra has been teaching piano lessons for two decades. She currently has 40 students, six of whom have special needs.

“I really have a good time working with them. I can see they can express their emotions through the music, and this is important because maybe they don’t have another way to do so,” she said.

Yerlen, who is on the autism spectrum, has been able to play music by ear since he was four. In the six months since he’s taken lessons, Yolanda has seen big changes her in her son.

“He’s a little more patient. He’s able to have more eye contact because Miss Adriana has to have him look at her face to face so he can follow the notes.”

Adriana says teaching the kids and seeing their progress “explodes her heart” and she loves that she can make a positive impact in the world.