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How Sheryl Crow influenced this young man with autism to pursue music

This guest post is by Noah Cummins. Noah was born and raised in Park Ridge Illinois and is the youngest of five brothers and was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Noah now lives in Nashville Tennessee where he studies commercial music at Belmont University. His goal is to become a recording singer songwriter. 

My name is Noah Cummins. I am the youngest of five brothers and was born and raised in Park Ridge Illinois. At the age of two I was diagnosed with autism. I am now a twenty two year old commercial music major at my dream school, Belmont University. The one thing that has not changed through out the years is my love and passion for music.

This past December while singing with my choral group Jazzmin at the Schermerhorn theatre my musical dreams came full circle when I had the awesome honor of meeting Sheryl Crow.

When I was younger I spent a lot of time in the car with my mom driving me to different classes and therapies. While in the car my mom noticed that although I wasn’t using actual words I was attempting so sing along with the songs on the radio. Since music seemed to be something I really connected to my mom turned it into a kind of game. When a song I liked was on my mom would sing along and when she stopped I would have to sing the missing word. This game went on for years, and the one song we continued to sing over and over again was “Picture” by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. The song helped me in learning how to sing, but more importantly it helped me in learning how to talk. The song “Picture” became a kind of anthem in my life and a song my mom and I still sing together. 

After telling my “Picture” story to several of my friends at school, and then learning that Sheryl Crow would be hosting and performing with my school at “Christmas at Belmont” my friends decided I MUST meet her! I thought just getting to see her would be plenty for me. During the show one of my friends told me that they were going to be taking a photo with Sheryl and they wanted me to join in. After the photo my friends encouraged me to share with her my story. I was so nervous that while talking I couldn’t stop shaking! Sheryl in turn was nothing but kind and understanding. When I told her my story she seemed very moved and asked if she could video our conversation and share it. I, of course, said yes! The next day I get a lot of texts telling me that Sheryl had posted the video to her social media pages. I couldn’t believe it. I was just so thankful and grateful that she would do that. Now the video has been shared by several Facebook pages and is at over 3.5 million views on Facebook. I am so happy to have been able to share my story with Sheryl Crow so she could see that sometimes a beautiful song that people enjoy, can have a very profound effect on someone and they might not ever know it. Now she knows. 

Also, in sharing my story other families have shared with me the beautiful ways that music has impacted their lives. My plan is to tour the country writing and performing the music that I love and if somewhere down that road I can make a difference in someone else’s life then I will be very happy indeed.


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.