High school student with autism wows crowd with choir performance

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana -- A video of a high school choir performance is going viral for showing the world what inclusion looks like.

The video posted to Twitter on May 3 shows a high school student with autism take the stage as part of a featured duet.

The audience erupts into cheers and applause as 16-year-old Tommy finishes his part -- but the best part is his joyful reaction and pride in himself.

Tommy was diagnosed with autism when he was about 3 years old and did not talk until he was 4. Because of his developmental delays, doctors told his parents he would likely not be able to form relationships or friendships with peers -- fortunately his dad says doctors could not have been more wrong.

"While Tommy still is developmentally delayed, he is a vibrant and outgoing sophomore in his high school," his dad Will Sondgerath said. "He has been singing with his classmates in choir since he was 12 and he loves to perform."

Tommy's dad says he also participates on the school's unified track and basketball teams where he throws the shot put and runs the 100-meter dash. He will even play on the school's baseball team this summer for the eighth year in a row.

"What makes this so special for my wife and I is how the school has been very inclusive of its kids with special needs -- the teachers, coaches, administrators and especially the students," Sondgerath said. "Tommy's classmates take Tommy and his peers under their wings and it is so special to see."