This Nonverbal Autistic Boy Learns To Speak By Listening To ‘Old Town Road’

What would this world be without music? For starters, it would be very quiet and missing an extremely important style of art that influences everything from our creativity to our moods. Music also has the ability to influence speech! An autistic boy has gone viral for beginning to speak after listening to the wildly popular hit ‘Old Town Road.’

The young boy in question is on the autism spectrum and is also nonverbal. He receives all sorts of therapeutic services that would allow him to improve on his skills. In a Tweet sent out by his mom, she shares how they experienced an “Old Town Road” miracle in their home.

“We had an #oldtownroad miracle at my house. My son Daniel has #autism and doesn't talk. We caught him humming the @LilNasX and @billyraycyrus tune the other day. Then Bless God, my baby started singing the song on his own. His therapists have started to use it in his sessions!”

See the post, below!

It’s amazing how music can really help us reach milestones whether they’re personal, emotional, or speech-related. In a study conducted by University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) in 2016, they found that the earlier a child experiences music, the better their processing and speech skills, become.

Lead author of the study, Christina Zhao, had this to say about how music benefits young children.

“Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech. This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills.”

Music and language have something in common which is rhythmic patterns. Syllables allow us to differentiate one word from another and help us better understand what the other person is actually saying — which is similar to how we process music. In a different study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, they found that there are, in fact, commonalities between the way we process music and language.


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Previously, it was believed that the left side of the brain was only responsible for the propositional, analytical, and serial processing while the right side of the brain takes care of the appositional, holistic, and synthetic relations. Plainly said, the left side of the brain processes language while the right side is better at processing music but these new findings by the University of Washington’s I-LABS is challenging that idea.

The two sides of the brain may be working symbiotically and it's better at it than we thought. Our right brain’s ability to process music may be influencing our ability to speak and understand language.

This phenomenon is known as a dual-hemispheric skill and could be attributed to why brilliant minds like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were not only able to create beautiful and culture-forming music but also able to speak four languages fluently. At the age of three, Mozart was even able to tune a violin to perfection, so there is definitely reason to believe both sides of our brains are working together when it comes to certain people.

It’s important to note that singing is actually considered a dual hemispheric skill where the left brain takes care of the verbal language, or lyrics of a song, while the right brain takes care of the melody, beat, and rhythm. So singing lyrics of a song to the rhythm actually takes both sides of the brain, which is why the young autistic boy in the aforementioned video was able to learn the songs melody and lyrics, all while developing his verbal skills, to begin with.

Gotta love music!

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