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autism spectrum disorder

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.

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This article originally appeared on 02.19.16


At one of the worst points, she was banging her head on the floor and the walls of her bedroom, raging and crying.

And I was doing the same because I just didn't know what else to do anymore.

Something had triggered a full-on, pupil-dilated tantrum for my then-3-year-old, Emma, complete with hair-pulling and biting — both herself and me.

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via Better to Be Different / Facebook

Natalie Fernando, 44, was walking down the seafront at Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England with her five-year-old son Rudy when he refused to turn around after she asked him. Rudy has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and it's common for people with it to have difficulty being redirected, especially if they are enjoying an activity.

"My son loves to walk, but he hates to turn around and walk back, we usually try to walk in a circuit to avoid this but on his favourite walk with the boats we have no choice but to turn back," Natalie wrote on her blog's Facebook page, "Better to Be Different."

This caused Rudy to lay down on the ground and throw a meltdown. Natalie apologized to passersby for his loud noises, but she still received judgemental stares.

It's common for Rudy's meltdowns to last for an hour or more and he can become very aggressive.

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via European Parliament / Flickr

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day where hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes, and communities around the world come together to light up blue in recognition of people with autism and those who love and support them.

It also kicks off World Autism Month, featuring 30 days of Autism-friendly events and educational activities to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism and inspire a kinder, more inclusive world.

About one in 59 children has autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anyone who has experience with someone with autism knows the disorder is seriously misunderstood. So if there's one message we can share with the world this month, it's this: People with autism think differently.

Not better or worse, just differently.

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