A 9-year-old just perfectly broke down what living with autism is like for him.

George Yionoulis is pretty much your typical 9-year-old.

The fourth-grader from Raleigh, North Carolina, loves "Harry Potter," making art, and eating tacos.

Oh, and he loooooooves dancing. The kid has some serious moves.


GIF via Lisa Jolley/YouTube.

While it's pretty easy to understand why George loves tacos (who doesn't?), there are some things George does that aren't quite as easy for people to understand. That's because when was 2 years old, his parents discovered has an autism spectrum disorder.

George's autism makes it harder for his classmates at Douglas Elementary School to relate to him. So he used a class project to help them understand him a little better.

George wrote, narrated, edited, and produced a video called "My Autism" and even created an original score to accompany the six-minute clip.

"Hi, everybody. My name is George," George begins his voiceover as text reading "GEORGE ... and AUTISM" flashes across the screen before cutting to footage of George dancing.

"Let me tell you a little about myself," he continues. "I have fun dancing, I have fun making music, I love to draw and make art, and ... wait for it ... I have this thing called autism."

In the video, George shares some of his unique quirks — things he knows his classmates have noticed about him but maybe haven't had the courage to ask about.

Like the fact that he has trouble making eye contact with people when they speak to him, though he says he's gotten better about it. "I might not have been looking, but that didn't mean I wasn't listening," he explains.

"Speaking of listening," he continues. "I can hear and see a lot of things and sounds all at the same time, which sometimes makes it hard to focus on any one sound or thought. That's why it might take a little more time to answer you when you ask a question."

GIF via Lisa Jolley/YouTube.

He also has trouble with metaphors and figures of speech, which is common for kids with autism, and advises his classmates to be as literal and clear with him as possible.

"If you say 'take a seat,' you might find one less chair in your classroom," he jokes.

George also opens up about some of the challenges he faces and hopes the video will help his friends understand why he sometimes gets angry, cries, or yells.

"I sometimes get frustrated when I get interrupted or when something doesn't go as planned," he admits. "Or when something unexpected happens. Or when I make a mistake."

In a courageous peek behind the curtain, George even includes video of himself — at a much younger age — throwing a tantrum at a book reading as well as audio of himself stumbling with his words while recording the narration for the video and becoming audibly frustrated. "But I messed up!" he cries.

GIF via Lisa Jolley/YouTube.

"(Some of those) are just kid things to get frustrated about, and I'm a kid just like you," he says. "All us kids are different in our own ways, right?"

At the end, George asks his classmates to come talk to him, ask him questions, or invite him to play — even if it seems like he might not want to.

"I like having fun, just like you. So if you ever see me playing by myself, it doesn't necessarily mean I don't want to play with you, too," he tells them. "I always want to play with you."

His heartwarming honesty and larger-than-life on-screen personality are so compelling, it's no wonder the video has gone viral. Shortly after the video went up on YouTube and Facebook, it racked up tens of thousands of views and hundreds of comments.

Initially, it was only meant for George's 21 elementary school classmates.

"The feedback we're getting is, 'I showed this to my 6-year-old who has autism, I showed this to my 12-year-old who has autism,' and they're going, 'Me too, and we could be friends!'" his mother, Lisa Jolley told Raleigh-Durham's WTVD/ABC11.

In a world where people with autism aren't often given the chance to speak for themselves, it's both really cool and really significant that George has taken control of his own life story and experience and is sharing them in his own words. At only 9 years old, he's already making huge strides in helping the world better understand a condition that affects about 1 in 68 kids in the United States.

Watch the full video below, and you'll probably learn something new yourself.

At the very least, you're bound to fall in love with this charming and courageous kid.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

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Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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