Monday October 6, 8pm on ABC
This week Australian story returns to one of it's most popular programs, the story of radio and TV personality Ian ‘Dano’ Rogerson and his wife Nicole, who gave up their home, careers and an exciting lifestyle for the love of their son, Jack.
Ian Rogerson is a successful national broadcaster and media star who in the 1980s was best known for his professional partnership with Jonathan Coleman. As ‘Jono & Dano’, the pair had a 10-year run with top-rating radio shows and a string of national television programs.
While Jono Coleman went on to forge a successful career in Britain, Ian Rogerson all but disappeared from the entertainment scene for more than a decade.
Five years ago Australian Story filled in the missing years. Ian Rogerson had thrown in his career – “career suicide”, according to many in the industry – to care for Jack.
Diagnosed with autism as a toddler, Jack Rogerson was hyperactive, could barely speak and was unable to express ordinary affection. Like many parents of autistic children, the Rogersons soon discovered there was little help available. But they were determined to do whatever they could to enable their son to lead a mainstream lifestyle.
The turning point came when they met Elizabeth Watson, a therapist pioneering a treatment called Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).
When we first visited the Rogersons, Jack had just completed his primary school education. Now, five years on, the family’s determination is being richly rewarded.
At 18, Jack has recently graduated from a mainstream high school and is looking forward to a career in the hospitality industry.
In this program, the Rogersons candidly discuss the highs and lows of Jack’s life and explain how he has been able to reach his full potential.
"Jack’s progress shows what is possible," says Nicole Rogerson, who is now CEO of Autism Awareness Australia and also runs an early behavioural intervention centre in Sydney to help other children with autism. "We know that kids in Australia, one in a hundred of them, have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The reality is the vast majority are not getting anywhere near best practice guidelines for treatment of Autism. So unless the government makes a genuine investment in this area, so many children are not going to reach their best outcome and I think that’s a tragedy."