Student With Autism Saves His Choking Classmate After Learning the Heimlich from Spongebob Squarepants


When Brandon Williams a student with autism saw his classmate choking on an apple slice, he immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver – a life-saving technique he learned this life saving

Brandon, who is in a special-needs 12:1:1  at Barnes Intermediate School in Staten Island, New York, told that he picked up the maneuver from an episode of Nickelodeon animated series Spongebob Squarepants. Brandon, noticed one of the other students in his class, Jessica Pellegrino, “choking in her mouth.”

Jessica is grateful and old told ABC7NY that Brandon is “awesome, and cute.”

Griffin, who works with the classroom’s 12 students, said the incident may help people shed “preconceived notions about autism,these kids are intelligent, loving, just amazing, kids,” he told

According to, the class had a party for both Brandon and Jessica, rewarding Brandon for his heroic act. The teen remained humble, however.

“I don’t need a medal. I’m good; I’m good,” he said.

“I’m at the foot of the table, and I had my back turned for a second, and I hear one of my students yelling ‘Mr. Griffin, Mr. Griffin! So, I turn around and I see Brandon on top of Jess. I didn’t realize what was going on. And then I realize that Jess was choking on an apple and Brandon had started doing the Heimlich.”  Brian Griffin, Para Professional at the school told

Anthony Williams ~The Great Kills seventh grader’s dad,  told that Brandon often “picks up on things” that most people wouldn’t see, like the bits used on Spongebob.

“[He] 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.”


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