A school custodian's kind gesture has broken the internet this week...
Now, Autism is a life-long developmental disability.
The condition affects how people perceive the world, and how they behave and interact in social situations and with others. It is characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.
And it is incredibly common.
GettyIn 2018, the CDC determined that approximately 1 in fifty-nine children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder here in the States.
There is a spectrum.
GettyAnd, dependent on where a person sits on the spectrum, the characteristics of autism can vary.
All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways.
GettySome autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues, or other conditions, meaning different people need different levels of support.
And, most importantly...
GettyAutism is not a disease or illness, therefore it cannot be cured.
Autism is generally believed to be caused by genetics.
GettyResearch has consistently supported the theory that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child.
And it is definitely not a result of vaccines.
So all you anti-vaxxers out there can just pipe down, okay?
Anti-vaxxers have long blamed vaccines on autism.
But scientists have conducted extensive research over the last 2 decades to determine whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism.
The result of this research is clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.
Autism is not a disease that can be magically irradicated with a course of antibiotics.
It is a social disorder with characteristics that, instead of being curable, can be managed and improved over time.
Although many people still don't understand and/or believe the truth behind autism.
Such as Laurel Austin who was in the news not too long after she admitted feeding her autistic children bleach.
She believes that her bleach remedy has helped to ease her children's autistic.
YouTubeShe has revealed that she began using Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) in an attempt to help her son Jeremy, twenty-eight, and his brother, Joshua, who suffers from a less severe form of the condition.
This Miracle Mineral Solution is an incredibly toxic formula.
GettyThe solution is a corrosive concoction of industrial bleach containing sodium chlorinate and citrus acid diluted in water. It has been touted by some as a cure for HIV, hepatitis, acne, and cancer as well as autism but doctors say it is ineffective as well as dangerous.
Many doctors have publicly slammed the MMS formula.
Speaking last year, British GP Jeff Foster said that MMS does treat autism or any other condition.
“Autism is a neuro-developmental condition which is not amenable to any form of tablet treatment," he said. "When you have very extreme measures like this to 'cure' a condition it's just a roulette game. Eventually, someone will die. It's only a matter of time."
Despite autism being so incredibly common...
Countless people don't understand it. But one exceptionally kind school custodian has proven there is some good in the world.
Raymond Brown from the White Oak Elementary School in Edenton, North Carolina, is a custodian with a difference.
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And one school mom, Adrian Wood, has opened up about how Brown has helped her son Amos, who has autism.
"Sending Amos to school was such a different path. He was three when he started school. He was in diapers and he didn't speak. But after Mr. Brown started saying 'hello' to him and calling him 'Famous Amos,' Amos started saying, 'Hey Brown," when he saw him. He wasn't even saying 'Daddy' at that point, so it was really something."
"Amos is a hard friend to have. He takes a lot more than he gives and that's tough for children. But those kids saw that he was popular and loved and they started fighting over who would get to hold Amos' hand on the way to the classroom. It meant so much to me for him to be so favored by the other children at school, and Mr. Brown had a big hand in that."
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And Adrian has put her money where her mouth is, raising a whopping $35,000 for Brown - who was adorably surprised.
"I was very surprised to see all those people shouting and hollering 'Mr. Brown, congratulations,' it was beautiful and it's hard to explain, but I know this community loves Mr. Brown," he explained.
"Mr. Brown is really, truly so deserving of all of this and then some," said Principal Michelle Newsome. "He's our rock-steady fella here at White Oak... he's just a gem and we are so lucky to have him here. There isn't a child in this building that doesn't know who Mr. Brown is and that Mr. Brown cares for them and loves them."