It’s a scientific fact that nothing says “holiday cheer” like a choir of adorable singing children. (OK, by “scientific fact,” I mean, “something I made up, but that I feel like should be true.”) If you need your cold heart warmed, watch this video of an autistic girl singing “Hallelujah.” The clip of 10-year-old Kaylee Rodgers singing her heart out to the Leonard Cohen classic is going viral, having been viewed 1.8 million times on Facebook.
Kaylee, who has autism and ADHD, attends the Killard House School in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. Autism is a developmental disability with a wide range of effects, including difficulties with social interaction and impaired language skills; ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disorder characterized by difficulty focusing attention and hyperactivity. UTV reports that Kaylee has been singing since she was only three years old, an activity that helps to build her confidence.
Kaylee recently sang a version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with the backing of her school choir. After one of the student’s moms posted the video on Facebook, it quickly started racking up thousands of views. Kaylee has loved the response. “It was really amazing how many views I got,” Kaylee told UTV. “I just loved doing it.”
Kaylee’s school principal, Colin Millar, explained to UTV just how far Kaylee has come. When she joined the school between the ages of 7 and 8, Kaylee “would[n’t] really talk, wouldn’t really read out in class,” he said. “[For her] to stand and perform in front of an audience is amazing. It takes a lot of effort on Kaylee’s part.”
You may notice that the lyrics to which Kaylee lent her lovely voice are different from the original Leonard Cohen version (which has been covered many, many times, by musicians ranging from Jeff Buckley to Rufus Wainwright to Pentatonix). Kaylee and her classmates sang altered lyrics penned by the Kansas-based Christian rock band, Cloverton. As The Independent points out, Cloverton sparked controversy in 2014 when they released their version of the song, which replaces Cohen’s lyrics with an explicitly Christian telling of the Christmas story.