Raleigh 9-year-old's video about life with autism goes viral

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Raleigh boy's video about autism goes viral
EMBED <>More Videos

George Yionoulis knows it's OK to be different, And he's telling others.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Like most 9-year-olds, George Yionoulis likes to cut up in front of the camera.

But unlike his classmates, the Douglas Elementary fourth grader is living with autism.

So when it came to a class assignment, he decided to open up about his disability with a video, explaining how it impacts him the most.


"I didn't speak until I was almost 3 years old. In fact, my parents weren't sure if I would ever speak at all," said Yionoulis. "I also tend to take what people say literally. That means if you say take a seat, you might find one less chair in your classroom."

He also reassures others, "I'm a kid just like you."

"Just because I behave in some kind of weird ways doesn't mean I'm way too different from the whole school, and I know it's OK to be different," he said.

Like most 9-year-olds, George Yionoulis likes to cut up in front of the camera.

Lisa Jolley hoped the video would help George's classmates better understand her son, but she never thought it would go viral after sharing the project on YouTube.

"The audience was not meant to be a million people. The audience was 21 fourth-graders so they can see when he's waiting in line, he can't stand still. When we're at recess, he does this," she said.

The video has now been shared hundreds of thousands of times with people around the world.

"The feedback we're getting is, 'I showed this to my 6-year-old who has autism, I showed this to my 12-year-old who has autism, and they're going, 'Me too, and we could be friends!'" Jolley said.

As for the attention George is getting, "I love it!" he smiled.

He said he wants his friends not to be afraid to ask him about his condition, because knowledge is power.

"Why not say, OK, here's the deal. I have this thing, and this is why sometimes I don't behave the way you do. Does anyone have any questions?" said Jolley. We are very proud of this boy."