Boy with autism has verbal breakthrough thanks to 'Old Town Road'

It’s a song that you’ve probably heard and had stuck in your head, especially if you have kids.

It’s called, “Old Town Road” by Lil’ Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, and it’s changing the lives of a Cottage Grove family in ways you can’t imagine.

It was just a 9-second tweet, but for 4-year-old Daniel’s mother, she was sharing a miracle.

“I just…I started crying,” said Sheletta Brundidge, Daniel’s mother. “The tears were flowing down my face. They were dropping off my chin and hitting the top of his head.”

Daniel was singing the hit song, and because Daniel has autism and is mostly non-verbal, the moment was huge.

“And it let us all know, which we didn’t know before, that he could learn without being taught,” she said. “That he could hear something and remember it and then recall it to you.”

Maybe it shouldn’t have been a big surprise though. The song is a family favorite. They wake up signing it and it’s the lullaby before sleep.

“Old Town Road, Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, they live here,” Brundidge said. “On Jorgenson in Cottage Grove because they’re here all day long.”

She said it could also be Daniel’s southern roots.

“He was born in Texas,” she said. “Ain’t no ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ over here, girl. He was born in Texas, so maybe we’re touching on that inner cowboy he’s got."

Whatever it is, Daniel’s therapists are now looking for more songs to which he might respond. The family is all in.

“We gonna be like the Jackson 5 over here,” Brundidge said.

She says while Old Town Road may have paved a new road for Daniel to follow, Daniel’s 9-second, now viral video has done more than she ever imagined possible.

“In this crazy world, when everybody’s going at each other and everybody’s mad about something,” she said. “This has really brought people on social media together.”