The youngest of Dale Fairchild’s four children are missing all or most of their dominant hands, but their disabilities haven’t prevented them from practicing musical instruments— a hobby that typically requires the use of two full hands.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported that 8-year-old Danielle and 10-year-old Christopher Fairchild, who were adopted from China, use assistive technology to play musical instruments like the cello, and a viola adapted from a violin. They were inspired to learn from their older siblings.
“We've always taught them your beliefs create your reality, not your hand,” Dale Fairchild, their mother, told the news station. “[And that] there’s nothing to stop you from doing anything."
Brian Giavedoni, assistant manager of children’s orthotics and prosthetics at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has helped the two Fairchild children overcome challenges brought on by their physical abnormalities to successfully play the instruments.
"It's all about creativity,” Giavedoni told Fox 5 Atlanta. “If someone is that good at playing a musical instrument, that, in itself, is like another language. So, you've just allowed that child to move to the next level."
Danielle’s older sister created a plastic device to help hold her bow for her viola, which has one string less than a violin. The plastic device has helped, but she still needs more flexibility. Christopher has an assistive device to play the cello, but he said it's "a little too heavy."
Giavedoni plans to remake Danielle’s device by using a mold of her wrist and hand, and he’ll lighten Christopher’s device.
"For us, it's being able to let these kids show other kids and adults that ‘Don't look at me for what I don't have. Look at all the great things I can do,’” Dale Fairchild told the news station.