Jimmy Fallon’s Contest Asks Kids to Say “Mama,” and the Autistic Winner Will Melt Your Heart

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Prepare yourself, because nearly seven-year-old Cooper Swenson is about to warm your heart.

This precious kiddo is smart, sweet, and loves trains. He is also autistic and nonverbal, but that didn’t stop him from winning a contest that Jimmy Fallon put on…in fact, you could say that was what made him win!

Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show, recently published a children’s book called “Everything Is Mama.” To celebrate the book’s release, he and TODAY Parents sent out a challenge to moms and dads everywhere: capture a cute video of your little one saying “mama.”

When Cooper’s mother, Kate Swenson, heard about the contest, her first reaction was sorrow. “As a parent to a non-verbal child, I thought, ‘great, another thing we can’t do,'” the Minnesota mom explained. “But then I thought, ‘wait, we can do something cute.'”

Thus, the award-winning video was born.

In it, Swenson shows the world how Cooper can and does say “mama,” just in a slightly unconventional way: through a speech-generating device.

“We worked on this for three years,” she wrote in the Facebook video’s description. “We working [sic] on identifying the button, pushing the button and getting my attention. We did it world. We never gave up.”

She also explained how Cooper is learning to say “mama” with his voice by making an “Mmm” sound. He’s still working on it, but he’s motivated to start speaking…and that will hopefully lead him to success one day!

Even so, his mom believes his voice is no less a voice because it comes out of a computer. (And she’s so right about that!)

For winning the contest, Swenson and her husband, Jamie, have been invited to Fallon’s book launch party in New York City.

The Autism Site offers the Swenson family a big congratulations on their win! We wish all the best to them and their sweet kiddo.

Be sure to check out their award-winning video below!

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A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.