WATCH ABOVE: Jackson gave a speech to help his classmates better understand his daily challenges. Lindsey Seavert reports.
Jackson Cook is a smiling 8-year-old who attends third grade at Twin Cities German Immersion School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but he acknowledges he’s a little bit different than his classmates. Jackson has autism.
With his mother’s encouragement, Jackson made a speech to classmates to explain the challenges he faces so they can better understand him.
“Raise your hand if you know what autism is,” Jackson told the class. “Raise your hand if you know that I have autism.”
A camera from local television station KARE recorded the speech.
“It makes some parts of my brain work really well and some parts my brain work not very well. Doctors don’t know what makes some brains have autism and some brains not have it. I have it, but Charley doesn’t, even though he’s my twin brother.”
“Sometimes I need help learning things that other brains automatically know,” he continued. “Like my brain tells my body that it is not comfortable to look at someone in the face when they talk to me.”
Jackson’s classmates had questions for him after they were done with applause. He followed those up by handing out brain-shaped chocolates, “to help remember how sweet all our brains are.”
“I am hoping by never allowing him to feel ashamed of who he is and showing him I’m not ashamed of who he is, that will help him as he grows older,” his mother Beki Cook explained.