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Autistic Teen Saves Choking Classmate Using Method He Learned on Cartoon

Autistic Teen Saves Choking Classmate Using Method He Learned on Cartoon


An autistic teen that learned how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver from watching the cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants used it to assist a choking classmate on Oct. 28 in Staten Island.

According to the Staten Island Advance, Brandon Williams was at lunch at Barnes Intermediate School when he noticed a classmate, Jessica Pellegrino, choking on an apple.

After performing the Heimlich Maneuver on Pellegrino, Williams was able to free the piece of food from her throat.

Brian and Jessica are both autistic and in a special needs 12:1:1 class of a dozen students. Each of them works with a paraprofessional throughout the day. Brian Griffin, Brandon’s paraprofessional said of the incident, “The cafeteria is always very noisy, but I heard the kids calling me. I was ready to jump in, but Brandon had it. He was amazing. I've never seen anything like it."



Brandon's dad told reporters that his son, "Picks up on things that most of us would miss, and files it all away in his head, and he can recall it all in an instant. That's how he knew instantly what to do. And we're glad he did. We're proud of him."

Griffin also said, "Some people may have preconceived notions about autism, but these kids are intelligent, loving, just amazing, kids."

Classmates and teachers hosted a party to celebrate Williams’ effort.  They said he deserved a medal for his heroic actions but Brandon said, “I don't need a medal. I'm good; I'm good.”

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Author: Jaime Sumersille is a freelance writer and public relations account exec who lives on Long Island with her husband and two sons. She enjoys outdoor activities, culture and family friendly fun, especially on the North Fork. See More

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