Gavin Joseph, center, is a teenager from Illinois that was diagnosed with Asberger’s syndrome and ADHD at age 3. He, with the support of his family, have worked hard to support him despite his disability.
Asberger’s syndrome isn’t visible to the naked eye, so Gavin’s behaviors can seem strange to some. Gavin struggles to learn social cues and, as a result, can appear impatient, rude, or a “loner” to his peers in school.
Gavin was attacked by bullies that wanted to “teach him a lesson” for being different, says his mother Cortnie Stone on Facebook. Gavin was trying to be friends with a group of peers that instead surrounded him, choked him, beat him, and left him lying on the pavement.
Gavin’s peers supposedly called him “weird” and “creepy” for his attempts to socialize at school. Gavin’s struggles are more pronounced now because the social cues he learned as an adolescent suddenly don’t apply as he approaches adulthood. However Gavin decided that he wanted to teach them a lesson about his disease that they wouldn’t forget.
Gavin insisted that his attackers instead spend their community service learning about those with disabilities so that they can understand what he goes through. He wants them to write a paper about what they learned and to watch a 20 minute video “he taped while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective.” We can all learn a lesson from the bravery and compassion of Gavin.