For much of his life, Timothy Rohrer, a now young adult who was diagnosed with autism in second grade, has faced exclusion from his peers.
He also has an inspiring website it does the same.
In the brochure, Rohrer urges people to put themselves in the shoes of people with disabilities and imagine what it would be like to face the same challenges as them.
His guide quickly began to circulate, and after being published by the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education and shared nationwide, Rohrer began making appearances at conferences and schools.
“It reached a very large audience – much bigger than we could have imagined,” said Rohrer’s mother, Amy. “He can inspire. When he speaks, he inspires. They engage themselves.
As Tim met more people and spoke to more audiences, he kept hearing a suggestion: “A few attendees said (to Tim), ‘Have you ever thought about writing a book? for children? “”
A pandemic brings a new idea to life
When COVID-19 started to spread like wildfire and the global pandemic set in, Tim’s appearances immediately stopped.
“There was nothing else to do,” Amy said. “We thought writing a book would be a good way to cope – to create resources that teachers can use to teach their children about autism.”
Tim’s mother said she saw how difficult it was for children with disabilities to learn during the pandemic. And it was even true for many of those who did not have a disability.
“The midlife we felt during the pandemic is what (Tim) has felt in every day of life,” Amy said. “(Schools) teach bullying and drugs – why can’t they teach disabilities? “
Tim got the right to work on the book and so came to fruition “Timmy’s Story: A Story About Autism and Friendship! “
It was not an overnight project, but Rohrer already had all the pieces; he had put a lot of work into his brochure, which was not just aimed at educating the general population about people with disabilities. Rather, it was about teaching everyone how to treat each other. It was about inclusion for all.
Timmy, the main character of Rohrer’s book, it’s a bit like Rohrer when he was a child, his mother said. He does not feel comfortable when touched on the shoulder or when he hears a loud sound. He also feels excluded by people.
Upon learning that he has autism, in the book, Timmy’s mother is better able to understand how to react to him. She is learning different ways to help Timmy, through therapy and sensory toys, and it works.
As the book progresses, Timmy’s teacher educates his class about what autism is. By helping them better understand the disease and what it looks like to Timmy, the boy is able to see a marked difference in the way they treat him and how inclusive they are with him.
Ultimately, in real life, Tim wants to convey what the characters in his book have learned: how to better understand autism and how to be inclusive – for people with disabilities and non-disabled alike.
Now, Tim’s hope is that he can put his book in every library across the country, so the message can educate children in schools around the world.
“Tim’s theory is that all children should learn social skills about how to communicate and (be inclusive),” his mother said.
In the midst of the pandemic, Tim attended Zoom conferences to continue to get his message out. He also joined a local non-profit organization called 5 Aid foundation participate in helping their community.
Tim can now add “author” to his list of ways he’s good for the world. He sold around 500 books in July.
Interested in reading Tim’s book? You can purchase a “hard” or digital copy by click here.
You can also find worksheets and activities on its website in click here.