How One Brave Teen Just Took Down His Bullies

July 8th 2015

Nicole Charky

For anyone living with Asperger’s, it can be difficult to tell someone about your condition. But one Illinois teen living with Asperger's syndrome took a brave step by confronting the bullies he never met, the ones who attacked him and left him choked, punched, and lying on pavement.

Instead of demanding that the attackers be placed behind bars, Gavin Stone said that he wanted them to be given community service that is disability-related, that they write a paper on Asperger's, and that they watch a 20-minute video statement from him, Buzzfeed reports. He also requested they watch the video “while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective.”

Instead of focusing on the bullies, Gavin wanted to bring attention to Asperger's and explain why it is not OK to hurt disabled people. His mom, Cortnie Stone, explained what their family has gone through:

You can't "see" Asperger's since it's not a visible disability, it's a social/emotional one that makes relationships difficult to attain. It doesn't prohibit his movement, or ability to walk, but it makes everyday interactions with people very difficult. He can appear rude, impatient, "weird", detached, or uninterested, but this is not intentional. He can also be kind, generous, and forgiving, but even this can appear awkward at times because some of it is learned and not always natural. Keeping longtime friends is tough because of his tendency to isolate yourself. Gavin has spent years learning what society thinks is appropriate and not appropriate, and so he doesn't offend anyone or stick out in social situations. Being a teenager with Asperger's is tough because all the sudden people around you are consistently "breaking" all the social do's and don'ts you've spent years learning.

Asperger's syndrome is a form of autism that can leave affected children or adults with difficulty in social interactions, repetitive behaviors, or a restricted range of interests, according to Autism Speaks.

The following behaviors can be associated with Asperger's:

  • Limited or inappropriate social interactions
  • "Robotic" or repetitive speech
  • Challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
  • Tendency to discuss self rather than others
  • Inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases
  • Lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
  • Obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
  • One-sided conversations
  • Awkward movements and/or mannerisms