Gavin Stone was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and ADHD when he was a toddler. Since then, his mom, Cortnie, said the family has faced both challenging and joyful times.
The Illinois teenager has difficulty maintaining relationships and tends to isolate himself, Cortnie Stone wrote in a Facebook post shared by a friend.
"He can appear rude, impatient, 'weird,' detached, or uninterested, but this is not intentional," she wrote. "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."
Gavin worked hard to learn social cues but still has challenges. "Being a teenager with Asperger's is tough because all [of a] sudden people around you are consistently 'breaking' all the social do's and don'ts you've spent years learning," his mom wrote.
Last week, something horrible happened to Gavin: He was beaten up by kids he didn't know. Stone explained on Facebook:
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".
This is what Gavin looked like after the beating.
But rather than press charges against the bullies, Gavin is hoping to raise awareness about his condition.
Stone wrote that he requested for their community service to be disability-related, that they write a paper on Asperger's, and that they watch a 20-minute video statement he taped "while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective."
Gavin's story is spreading through the internet after it was shared by Susan Moffatt, the mother of a friend of Gavin's. Moffatt's post has been shared over 140,000 times.
Moffatt wrote her son is also disabled, and it broke her heart to see what has happened to Gavin.
Now Stone says she hopes that something good will come of what happened to her son:
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.
BuzzFeed News has contacted Stone and Moffatt for comment.