1. ITV Report

Dad's charity single in honour of autistic son who can sing but can't speak

A doting dad has released a song for charity in honour of his three-year-old son Brooklyn, whose autism means he can sing but can't speak.

Ryan O'Connor wrote and performed a single entitled 'Mr B', the affectionate nickname he has for his son who is learning to communicate through singing.

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In the song, he says: "This A.U.T.I.S.M makes you different not less, no, it's who you are. I just want you to know you are my best friend, Mr B."

The dad-of-four, 28, is donating proceeds to the single to charity FACT (Families of Autistic Children Together) who have supported them with speech therapy and specialist equipment for Brooklyn.

Mr O'Connor and his fiancee Chelsea were warned that Brooklyn may never speak properly.

But with the help of his dad's guitar, the little boy has started to sing instead to communicate:

Mr O'Connor told the Manchester Evening News: "Even now at three he can’t say anything, not a single clear word, and one day not so long ago I picked up my guitar and to my complete disbelief he started to sing the song I had started to play.

"I burst into tears, I’m not ashamed to admit it, and since then all he does is sing and dance and anything musically related, he is obsessed."

My children are my world, and music is my profession, so it seemed fair to put it to good use and compose a very slow, subtle, meaningful song with a very powerful message that autism makes you different, not less.

– Ryan O'Connor

Brooklyn was diagnosed with autism in July and is one of the youngest children in the country to be given a full autism diagnosis before the age of seven.

Mr O'Connor admits it can be ‘challenging’ tending to Brooklyn’s needs as well as his other three boys, but says he wouldn’t swap it for the world.

The 'Mr B' single cover. Credit: MEN syndication/Family handout

At home we’re a team where family is everything and we just pull together. The song is a little tribute to one of my biggest inspirations - my son.

– Ryan O'Connor

To donate to FACT, visit Mr O'Connor's Just Giving page. The single will be released on i-tunes on Friday night.