‘Old Town Road’ Inspires Boy with Non-Verbal Autism to Sing for the First Time

Photo Credit: Instagram

“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X has topped the charts for over two months now. But for one little boy with non-verbal autism, the song is more than just a catchy earworm. It’s also the song that sparked a breakthrough and inspired him to use his voice for the first time.

Sheletta Brundidge’s son Daniel is four years old, and, until very recently, he never spoke. He was unable to tell his parents when he was hurt or upset.

Daniel’s three older siblings are huge fans of Lil Nas X, so he has heard “Old Town Road” many times. One day, Sheletta was in the kitchen washing dishes when she heard Daniel actually humming the tune.


She thought she must be hallucinating at first, she told Today Parents.

“When I realized it was really happening, I almost started screaming, but loud noises are upsetting to Daniel, so I stayed very calm,” she said.

Sheletta captured a few seconds of Daniel humming and posted it to Twitter.

“Daniel went from humming to actually singing the lyrics,” Sheletta said. “I was crying so hard that tears were dropping on his head. I was like, ‘This is the beginning. This is the light!’ It took him 6 months to learn the letter ‘A’ using flash cards, but he taught himself a song all by himself.”

Daniel’s therapists have started to use the song in his sessions. They’ve also realized the importance of music in general.

“We were like, ‘We’re gonna be using music from now on to teach Daniel, and not that ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ stuff,” Sheletta said.

Lil Nas X caught wind of Daniel’s achievement. He responded: “What a king.”