What makes George's video so amazing is in how he tells us about his condition. He's been dealing with autism all of his life. Despite that George said that "he's a kid, just like you," and it really shows all the way throughout.
His parents discovered he has an autism spectrum disorder when was 2 years old. “I didn’t speak until I was almost 3 years old," George said in his video. He said that his parents weren’t sure if I would ever speak at all, but when he started talking he started using all the words he'd learned as if he'd recorded them in his mind.
That doesn't mean the boy doesn't have a capacity for boundless joy. He has hobbies like any other kid - he loves dancing, as can be seen at the beginning of the video. It's just one of the ways he expresses himself not just as someone with autism, but as a regular kid.
Play on words isn't the best when you're with George. He explained that he has a habit of taking what people say literally. If you tell him to have a seat, "you might find one less chair in your classroom," he said. It works out better for everyone if you're more specific.
George's mother has had him in the same school since kindergarten. That means he's known people for years and has had a network of friends (mostly girls) who've checked up on him. It has been harder for him to make connections with boys because of his personality.
George wants to make it very clear that not all kids with autism are the same. For example, he says that he likes to touch as many things as possible, but that might not be the case for other kids on the spectrum. Their reactions to happiness or frustrations are entirely dependent to themselves.
Lisa Jolley, George's mother, and her husband Mike Yionoulis have said that it's like "solving a different puzzle every day and there's a lot of pieces." They're still proud of their son in how much of a joy he can be. More importantly, they love that George is so enjoyable to anyone he meets.
George's video is a delightful piece into the life of someone who lives with autism. He made it for his fourth-grade class, but when he put it up on YouTube in November the crowd got much larger. Tens of thousands watched the video, making him an internet star, if just for a moment.
The Video Has Affected Many Others On The Spectrum
George’s mother, Lisa Jolley, posted the video on Youtube, not thinking of the huge popularity it'd have. She said that the support they have been getting is nothing short of amazing. Other people have shown this to their children with autism and have felt a connection to how George expresses himself.
Compared to a decades previously, we know so much more about autism spectrum disorder. But there's still a lot of misconceptions. That's what makes a video like George's so important - to see a first-hand perspective on things. It's great to have a carefree educational explanation without the stigma we see everywhere else.