Lil Nas X's 'Old Town Road' Helped Non-Verbal Autistic Child Have a 'Breakthrough'

Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" might have helped a non-verbal autistic child have a "breakthrough," according to the child's mother.

Sheletta Brundidge, who hosts the podcast Two Haute Momas, told The Tennesseean her youngest son, 4-year-old Daniel, was diagnosed with autism and was non-verbal. He has struggled more than his three siblings, two of whom also have autism.

"He just hasn't responded well to the therapy. Nothing we've tried has given us the results that we saw with the other children. ... We were beating our head up against the wall," Brundidge explained.

However, one day, Brudridge heard Daniel humming the tune to "Old TownRoad" at their home in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

"It was just a hum at first," Brundidge told The Tennessean. "I was like, 'Oh my god, he's singing 'Old Town Road.' Then he started saying the words. This is a child who hasn't said three or four words together in the time he's been alive."

Brudidge started crying, then called her husband down to the living room and caught Daniel singing the song on video.

"It's such a breakthrough. It took us six months for us to teach him the letter A. Without any teaching, he was able to listen to it, absorb it, memorize it and then recall it," Brudidge said. "All this money we spent on therapists and doctors and supplements ... and 'Achy Breaky Heart' is the one who brought my son the breakthrough that he needed."

Brundidgee asked Daniel's therapists to start including "Old Town Road" in his therapy and also hope music therapy will help.

Brundidge shared the video on Twitter, which inspired a response from Lil Nas X himself. "What a king," the rapper wrote.

"Old Town Road" has been a controversial song in the country community, especially after Billboard removed it from its Hot Country Songs. Some country artists have shown Lil Nas X support, including Billy Ray Cyrus, who was featured on a remix. Keith Urban brought Cyrus and Lil Nas X to perform the song during his CMA Fest set.

"I just love making music," Cyrus told at CMA Fest. "I love all styles of music and always have. For me, a whole lot of what I'm going through right now, I attribute a lot of it to some of the guys that really became my true friends, like Waylon Jennings."

The "Achy Breaky Heart" singer continued, "The first time I tweeted Lil Nas back after I heard that he was looking for me, I told him that Waylon had told me that definition of an outlaw is one who had been outlawed. And welcome to the club."

Lil Nas X was just one of a handful of unconventional acts to perform at CMA Fest this past weekend, along with The Chainsmokers and Joan Jett.


"I think it's so awesome because I feel like that's just broadening our fan base," Runaway June singer Jennifer Wayne told of the diverse acts. "A lot of people are coming in and listening to country music. If that's the window to bring them in, I think it's awesome. And for me it's just fun to see what the collaborations are and how they work it up, and seeing the chemistry on stage, I think it's so much fun."

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