Timothy Hogan Shares Inspiration for High School Autism Program

Steve Adubato talks with Timothy Hogan, a teacher at Howell High School, about how his personal experiences with his son inspired him to create a program at his high school to raise awareness about students with autism.

1/28/17 #2598






"Tim Hogan is a teacher at Howell High School, that has one of the largest autism spectrum disorder support programs in the state of New Jersey. Tim, good to have you with us. Thank you for having me. Tim, we're about to see a video, part of the Classroom Close Up series produced by the New Jersey Education Association. They're closely connected and committed to this initiative, connected to autism because? I have a child who is severely autistic, and this whole program all started because we've had some really bad experiences, our family, because he has autism. And one night, I was on the boardwalk, down in Spring Lake, along the shore, and a lot of people... my son was having a behavior because dogs were being running loose. People breaking the law, basically. And everyone kept telling me, "Oh, it's okay, it's okay, the dog's fine." Well it wasn't fine. You were really blowing up his world. And I ended up having to drag him off the boardwalk in a headlock, and everyone just stopped and stared and I could hear people saying things about what a brat he was, and what a bad parent I was. And that night, I went home, I called this woman I work with, Mary Collins, and she has a group called the Anytowners, and they are about getting diversity in the schools. Hmm. And I called her, and we... we started this assembly. Why don't we do this? Why don't we take a look at this video? We'll come back and talk. Because I happen to know, because we know the Classroom Close Up people put together some powerful stories, and here it is right now. [music playing] Imagine that people may laugh at you because you act differently. Imagine... ...that you might physically attack your family and teachers for reasons you cannot explain. [music playing] Student peer leaders at Howell High School are spending a day speaking with their classmates to promote autism awareness and acceptance during National Autism Awareness Month. It's very important, especially students at our school, where we do have an autism program. And we do interact with children with autism. It's important to know how to interact with them. So that's why we really put this together. Howell is home to one of the largest high school autism spectrum disorder support programs in New Jersey. Do not stare and laugh at someone with autism just because they act differently. Do not put your arm around, or hug someone, with autism. Instead, offer a high five, handshake, or a fist bump. Along with information, the students present short films that have connections to the school..."