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Teacher shows boy with autism how to talk

Jacori Moore learned how to talk with help from his teacher, Dr. Tammy Johnson with LUDIC. (Image: WTVC)

A young boy with autism is now communicating with the world, after a special teacher in Cleveland shows him how to talk.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Newschannel 9's Jessica Harthorn learned how the teacher encouraged him to finally open up.

Hearing your child's first words is a momentous occasion for every parent.

But for little Jacori Moore of Athens, he didn't say his first sentence until he was five.

His mother tells us, it was the special bond with his teacher that changed the world for him.

Jacori Moore was three years old when this picture was taken. His smile was contagious, but he couldn't communicate his excitement.

"The only thing we heard him say at that time was mom and dad. That was it," said Latoya Moore, Jacori's mother.

Latoya says a pediatrician recommended Lee University Developmental Inclusion Classroom, a private school for children with autism in Cleveland.

And that's where Jacori met Dr. Tammy Johnson. The two formed an instant bond.

"He loves her, he smiles the minute he gets here," said Latoya.

Latoya remembers the day Jacori finally opened up. "His first sentence was, 'Turn up the music.'"

"And how did that make you feel?" asked Newschannel9's Jessica Harthorn.

"It was great! I pulled over on the side of the road and started crying," said Latoya.

The tears continued when she surprised Dr. Johnson in the middle of class.

"On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I want to Pay It Forward to you, for all your hard work, love and support. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5," surprised Latoya.

"Thank you! Oh my goodness," hugged Dr. Tammy Johnson.

Dr. Johnson tells us she taught Jacori how to talk by using Applied Behavior Analysis.

"We begin with the items he was most interested in and helped him ask for those. We used sign language and picture exchange," explained Dr. Johnson.

And now Dr. Johnson says the possibilities are endless.

"Spell your name bud," asked Dr. Johnson.

"J-A-C-O-R-I," spelled Jacori.

"Yeah! Whoop, Whoop!" celebrated Dr. Johnson.

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