By Kate Raddatz

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — A Cottage Grove family is making national headlines for what they call an “Old Town Road” miracle.

A hit song has been life-changing for their family.

“It’s just, it’s given us life,” Sheletta Brundidge said.

A week ago, Brundidge’s 4-year-old son, Daniel, who is on the autism spectrum, was mostly non-verbal. But he’s now learning through music thanks, in part, to the country/hip-hop mega-hit by Lil Nas X.

“We wake up listening to ‘Old Town Road.’ We go to bed listening to ‘Old Town Road,'” Brundidge’s mother said.

It’s the song of the summer, but to this Cottage Grove family, it’s more than just a catchy tune.

The three youngest Brundidge children have autism, and Daniel struggles the most with speaking.

“He may have like three words he can tell me at a time,” his mom said.

Brundidge has worked tirelessly on her son’s speech to try to communicate with him. One day she was home with Daniel and thought she heard him humming the familiar song.

“Is this what’s happening? I mean, it took us six months to teach him the letter ‘A’! And without being taught, are you telling me he is humming this song?” Brundidge said.

Then, something amazing happened.

“He started singing the words,” she said.

Brundidge took out her phone and got it on video. She posted the video and story on Twitter.

Even Lil Nas X saw the clip and called Daniel a “king.”

“Then I thought, oh my god — it’s music! That’s how we reach him,” she said. “That just opened up the floodgates. Then Billy Ray Cyrus retweeted it, and then my daddy — who doesn’t know how to use Twitter — called me to let me know that Snoop Dogg retweeted it.”

In fact, Lil Nas X called Brundidge at the WCCO radio station where she is a producer. Here’s the audio recording. 

But Brundidge says the most amazing piece is knowing her son finally found his voice.

“He’s connecting with that music,” she said. “And it’s just– it’s amazing.”

She is a producer at WCCO Radio.

Brundidge said they will now be using “Old Town Road” in Daniel’s therapy sessions. Right now the song is number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list so he’ll get to hear it on the radio for quite a bit longer.

Kate Raddatz