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A North Texas teen was non-verbal for years. Then he found his calling as an Elvis performer

Hunter Cole never felt like he fit in, until he heard about the rock 'n roll king.

CLEBURNE, Texas — When you have autism, like Hunter Cole, it’s common to become fixated on just one thing.

But not even Cole’s mom, Mary Lowe, expected his latest obsession to go this far.

“I thought it would be a few months and then he’ll want to move on, but he didn’t,” Lowe said.

Every day, all Cole thinks about is Elvis.

Up until a couple years ago, he’d never even heard of Elvis. Then, an Elvis tribute artist performed in his hometown of Cleburne, and he was hooked.

“I just fell in love with it really,” Cole said. “It was all really quick. It was like, I love this.”

He’s spent virtually every minute since studying Elvis’ songs, his moves and his style.

Cole has only been doing this a year, but he's already performed almost 70 times.

He recently won an Elvis contest in Dallas and placed third at the national Elvis tribute artist competition at Elvis' birthplace.

What’s most remarkable, though, is that, for years, Cole was nonverbal. In fact, therapists weren’t sure he’d ever talk.

Because of that, he was bullied, which really did a number on his self-esteem, but Lowe says Elvis has brought out a whole new kid.

“He always felt inadequate and less than like he didn’t really know his place, what he was good at” Lowe said. “Now he’s just out there, in front of the public’s eye and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is the same kid.’”

“That’s just what I want to do, is I want someone to know just because they have autism that they can do anything they want to do,” Cole said.

Take it from the King.

Cole will perform August 24 and 31 at El Ranchito in Dallas, beginning at 7 p.m.

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