Do you know anybody affected by Asperger's Syndrome? Asperger's is a form of autism and is associated with difficulty in social situations, repetitive behavior patterns and lack of good verbal communication skills. For these reasons, people who have it are often extremely misunderstood. That's why they're tragically sometimes the targets of bullying. But this situation was especially severe.
Gavin Stone was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome as a toddler. Now in his teens living in Illinois, his mother noted on Facebook that while sometimes Stone can seem "rude, rude, impatient, ‘weird,’ detached, or uninterested" it's not something he means to do. Being a teen is difficult for everyone, but for Stone and his condition, it makes it harder to fit in.
Just last week, Stone was beaten up by bullies for this type of behavior. According to a Facebook post:
On Thursday night, some kids were talking about how “it’s weird” that he is always by himself, attending events alone and watching people, and it was “creepy” how he wanted to be friends with people he didn’t know. On Friday night, another kid that overheard that conversation decided to take matters into his own hands and become judge and jury, and this is the result of that. He didn’t ask questions, didn’t get to know Gavin, never met him, and didn’t give him a chance to leave. He was called to meet someone, surrounded by people he didn’t know, choked, punched, and left laying on the pavement so he would “learn his lesson”.
Here's what Stone looked like when the bullies were done, posted by family friend Susan Moffatt on Facebook:
Posted by family friend Susan Moffett, this post has been shared nearly 200,000 times.
After an incident of this caliber, you would think that Stone would press charges. But he didn't. All he wants is that the bullies complete community service that is disability related and watch a 20-minute video he made “while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective.”
According to Buzzfeed, Stone also said,
"If you are reading this, I hope you talk to your teens, tell them about disabilities you can’t see, teach them to be tolerant of people that are different, teach them that if they continuously see someone alone that maybe it is not their choice to be alone, remind them to ask questions first and get to know one another.