+
More

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

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

This article originally appeared on 12.07.17


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.


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."

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.

"(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.

My Autism - by George

George's journey with autism at 9 years old. This is the video he shared with his fourth grade class to help them understand why he behaves the way he does...

Mom absolutely slays when bar band hands her a fiddle.

The devil may have gone down to Georgia, but it appears he took a detour to a bar in Nashville and possessed a middle-aged mom on his way down there.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed 5.5 million times, Olivia Reeth's daughter shared that her family had gone to the Whiskey Bent Saloon in Nashville and was watching the Moonshine Outlaw Band perform. Her mom told the band she played the fiddle, and mid-song, the fiddle player decided to hand his instrument over to her.

You kind of have to wonder what the guy was thinking. Did he imagine she'd be able to keep up with the band? Did he figure she'd play a few bars and then hand it back?

Keep ReadingShow less

This library is where it's at.

Libraries are a vast treasure trove of information, ideas and inspiration. And yet, they often simultaneously seem like the product of a bygone era. Let’s face it, the convenience of the Internet has made it our go-to source of knowledge, causing us to sacrifice analog magic for expediency.

To be sure, libraries have adapted for the modern age by offering digital resources including basic online access that often provide a lifeline for underserved communities. But still, the general consensus seems to be that libraries are stuffy and archaic. This lack of interest, combined with continued budget cuts, pose a real challenge to physical libraries everywhere.

However, one library is actually harnessing the power of the internet to prove just how cool, and yes, hip, these public spaces can be…one hilarious and viral TikTok at a time.
Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Buffalo woman uses social media to save an elderly man's life after he's trapped in the snow

They don't call Buffalo the city of good neighbors for no reason.

Photo by Patino Jhon on Unsplash
vehicles covered in snow

The city of Buffalo, New York is called the "city of good neighbors." And with a blizzard that has dumped more than 50 inches of snow on them, the world is getting to learn how they earned that name.

A woman named Sha'Kyra Aughtry went viral on Facebook after she reluctantly put out an emotional plea. Aughtry went live on the platform explaining that she heard someone calling for help outside, so she sent her boyfriend out to see who needed assistance. Turns out, it was a 64-year-old developmentally disabled man by the name of Joey White, who was stuck in the cold snow. Aughtry's boyfriend helped the man out of the snow and physically carried him into the house.

White was so frozen that they had to use a hair dryer to melt the ice off of his pants that were frozen to him. The couple also had to cut his socks off along with the bags he was carrying, which were stuck to his hands. White was in a dire position and Aughtry, a mom of three preparing for Christmas, was desperate.

Keep ReadingShow less

Florida teacher Yolanda Turner engaged 8th grade students in a dance-off.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Teachers deserve all the kudos, high fives, raises, accolades, prizes and thanks for everything they do. Even if they just stuck to academics alone, they'd be worth far more than they get, but so many teachers go above and beyond to teach the whole child, from balancing equations to building character qualities.

One way dedicated educators do that is by developing relationships and building rapport with their students. And one surefire way to build rapport is to dance with them.

A viral video shared by an assistant principal at Sumner High School & Academy in Riverview, Florida shows a group of students gathered around one student as he challenges a teacher to a dance-off.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

A jetliner that landed in the woods.

Over the past few years, the rising costs of homes and rent in the U.S. has pushed many to seek alternatives to traditional housing. People have been moving into tiny houses, sharing spaces with “platonic life partners” and living the nomad dream in motorhomes.

Some have even opted to take up permanent residence aboard cruise ships because it can be cheaper than paying rent or a mortgage.

One of the most unique, alternative homes in the US is Bruce Campbell’s in Hillsboro, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. According to CNBC, for over 20 years, the retired engineer has called a Boeing 727 200-passenger jetliner home. It’s a little smaller than the average house at 1,066 square feet, but it’s an open-concept lovers’ fantasy.

Keep ReadingShow less
More

Stress is an epidemic among our kids. 7 experts give 8 tips on how to help.

We reached out to experts to see what advice they'd have for parents who think their kids might be struggling with stress or anxiety. Here is what they had to say.

Picture from Burst

Heading back to school can be stressful.

This article originally appeared on 07.28.17


School can be a ton of fun, but for many kids, it can also be a pretty big source of stress and anxiety as well.

A little stress now and then is an unfortunate fact of life, but it seems like kids are more stressed than ever these days. Overwhelming, toxic stress can actually affect how a child's brain grows and develops and can increase the risk for mental health issues later in life.

Keep ReadingShow less