Educator uses his illness to teach life lessons at school

The head of a Connecticut elementary school is using his ALS diagnosis to teach children about how to find hope and be resilient.
5:35 | 06/19/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Educator uses his illness to teach life lessons at school
before. I want to introduce you to a vibrant young teacher. Less than a year ago he received some shocking news but he is determined to find a silver lining in a horrible diagnosis and it has everything to do with the kids. This is Andrew Niblock's morning routine. Good morning. Good morning, everyone. The head of the country day. School. He is the one they know they can go to for anything. Wow. I love Mr. Niblock because he's really nice, caring. He's always very happy. But what that looks like for the kids and Andrew is changing and far more rapidly than he was ready for. Just 11 months ago the 42-year-old husband and father of two was diagnosed with als, the exceptionally rare and incurable Progressive disorder attacks certain cells in the brain and spinal cord making morning hellos and hugs harder to give. That doesn't mean he's going anywhere. I get to greet 417 smiling, skipping, laughing children every day. What does that do for you? It energizes me, gives me that sense of purpose. Reporter: And rather than trying to conceal the changes to his speech and mobility. Dear Christina. Reporter: -- Andrew decided to use his illness as a lesson about life. I want children to understand curveballs. No matter what is thrown your way, something later because knowing me -- That would be great. Andrew is also using his diagnosis to teach kids about this mysterious disease. Als is not contagious. You can't catch it like a cold. Reporter: Creating age appropriate videos alongside the school's head master Adam Rodi. You want to arm with children, you can do something and make a difference and Andrew helped us do that. Reporter: Even taken a page from the als ice bukt challenge phenomenon. To inspire the kids and spread awareness. Did you guys all learn about this disease in school this year. Yes. Yeah. It was probably helpful to understand what Mr. Niblock is going through, right? Uh-huh. An avid runner and cyclist Andrew is determined to keep moving forward. Using his can do attitude to show up every single day at school with a smile. I have the best job in the world. There might be somebody out there who gets more hugs than I do during their workday but I'd like to meet them. What do you hope kids take away from your journey. Hope is resilient. Hope can drive you forward and I hope the kids see that. One, two, three. Wow. Hope is resilient. And Kate told you. Kate came home from school telling moo he about this video she had seen in school and obviously her understanding a little about als was impressive but her compassion talking about what she could do to help Mr. Niblock, I just thought there is a life lesson there and I really wanted to share that. He's so strong and so brave and just there 100% every day. Roadblocks, that's going to be the example for all these kids. Life throws you a curve for them to be able to -- he knew all the kids' names. Every one of them. I was at the greenwich film festival and I know he got a big award. He did. It was fantastic named the greenwich film festival's game changer for this work in teaching compassion. A lesson all of us can really learn from and raised over $100,000 for research and now the school has dedicated their fund-raiser, annual fund-raiser to Andrew and it's all hands on deck. The kids are involved. The teachers, parents to again raise money for research and, Jen, Dr. Jen is with us. I know that is critical. It's critical for any illness and any disease but particularly for Lou Gehrig's disease, als. There has been some good news and I think research feeds into this just last month the fda granted accelerated approval for the first als drug in 20 years. Thought to be effective in about 30% of patients and slowing the progression of their symptoms. But as you guys can see in that video and you've mentioned this, it's like, robin, your mom said make your mess your message and that's what we're seeing here. He's teaching a legacy about living. About living and about hope. Thank you. Thank you, Jen, for that positive information too about this disease. I know it has to be a lot as a parent. Yeah, you know what, it's -- we're lucky, so lucky to know him. And now we do too. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"5:35","description":"The head of a Connecticut elementary school is using his ALS diagnosis to teach children about how to find hope and be resilient. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/GMA","id":"48124345","title":"Educator uses his illness to teach life lessons at school","url":"/GMA/video/connecticut-educator-illness-teach-life-lessons-school-48124345"}