Autistic boy learned to speak through a Sheryl Crow song. When they finally meet—it’s powerful

“This is the greatest story I’ve ever heard"
January 29, 2018 3:40 pm Last Updated: January 29, 2018 3:40 pm

Everyone has a favorite song. For some, it’s a song they grew up with or a song that elicits a specific memory. For others it’s a song with lyrics that really speak to them. Still there are those who appreciate a song purely from a musical standpoint.

Whatever the reason, we all have songs that stick with us and most everybody would feel honored to meet the people behind those songs. Recently Noah Jack Cummins from Park Ridge, Illinois, got the opportunity to do just that.

When Noah was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with autism.

The diagnosis cleared up much of what his mother, Barbara, had been wondering about, namely that Noah had never spoken before. With this new info, Barbara started taking her boy to speech therapy and music therapy sessions.

Posted by Noah Jack Cummins on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As she drove Noah over, the pair would listen to music in the car. One song they’d listen to regularly was “Picture” by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock. They’d sing along, Barbara taking Sheryl’s part and Noah taking Kid Rock’s. Noah still couldn’t speak but his noises perfectly matched the singer’s pitch.

One day, when Noah was about 4 years old, as they were singing the song, Barbara was shocked to find that Noah was singing the actual lyrics. Soon after, Noah started singing about everything. People would ask him a question and he’d sing his reply. It was the only way he could communicate for a while.

By age 5 he’d got the hang of talking, but music was firmly embedded in his heart.

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Posted by Noah Jack Cummins on Friday, December 30, 2016

Throughout his childhood he performed in choirs and as a solo vocalist, and learned to play the guitar.

Now a 21-year-old man, Noah is studying music in college in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a member of a jazz vocal ensemble.

Communicating is no longer a problem for him, until the night he got to meet the woman who helped him speak.

Story time!! Being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I took my time learning to talk. When I was 4 years old I…

Posted by Noah Jack Cummins on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

When he found out that his jazz ensemble was scheduled to perform in “Christmas at Belmont”, a show that Sheryl Crow was also performing in, he was thrilled.

“I thought, ‘I am going to freak out and not remember my words,’” Noah told The Tennessean.

After the show, Noah and his fellow ensemble members gathered to get a photograph with Sheryl. Noah was far too shy to approach the star himself—but his friends weren’t.

They stopped Sheryl and encouraged Noah to tell her his story, and he was met with an incredibly warm response.

(Facebook/Sheryl Crow)

“This is the greatest story I’ve ever heard,” Sheryl told him before giving him a giant hug.

The moment was captured on video and shared to Sheryl Crow’s Facebook page.

Noah Jack "Picture"

I want you to meet my new friend, Noah Jack, and hear his awesome story about how his mom used “Picture” to help him learn to sing and talk! I love this!! ❤️ Thank you, Noah, for sharing your story with me! #autismspeaks

Posted by Sheryl Crow on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

“I don’t remember it at all because I was so shocked,” Noah told The Tennessean. “It was super amazing.”

Noah is working on writing and recording his own songs, and hopes his story with inspire others.

“Music can change everyone,” Noah said. “It can bring everyone together and its story can be so powerful that it can change others.”