via Hollie Bellew-Shaw / Facebook

For those of us who are not on the spectrum, it can be hard to perceive the world through the senses of someone with autism.

"You could think of a person with autism as having an imbalanced set of senses," Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the School of Education at Adelphi University, told Web MD.

"Some senses may be turned up too high and some turned down too low. As a result, the data that comes in tends to be distorted, and it's very hard to perceive a person's environment accurately," Shore continued.


People without autism are good at filtering out unnecessary sensory information and remaining focused on what's happening around them.

"But when a person with autism walks into the room, he notices things that aren't as relevant – the sound coming from outside the window, a pattern in the carpet, a flickering light bulb," Geraldine Dawson, PhD, chief science officer for the education and advocacy group Autism Speaks, told Web MD.

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Ms. Esther, a custodian at Passmore Elementary in Alvin, Texas, is the perfect example of someone who understands the autism spectrum and backs it up with unbelievable heart.

Hollie Bellew-Shaw's daughter, Kenlee, who has autism, was overwhelmed by the loud noise in the school cafeteria so she went on the stage to lay down. Ms. Esther saw Kenlee lying there so she laid down next to her to comfort her.

"Our school custodian is literally the best, sweetest individual in the world," Bellew-Shaw wrote on Facebook. "[Kenlee] wanted no part of being in the cafeteria this morning with all the noise so she laid down with her blanket on the stage. When Ms. Esther saw her she came and laid next to her and patted her back."

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"All schools should be so lucky to have their own Angel on campus. Feel free to share so she can get all the appreciation and thanks she totally deserves," Bellew-Shaw wrote. The mom finished the post by adding several emojis and a puzzle piece — the symbol for autism awareness.

This school district reposed the photo saying, "This goes to show you that a kind word, a hug and a little compassion are all it takes to make a huge difference in a child's life," it wrote.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of children with autism is on the rise. This story is a great reminder for all of us to do what we can to learn more about this disorder so we can provide the best comfort for people like Kenlee when they feel overwhelmed.

Learn more at Autism Speaks