Autistic Kids Face the Worst Kind of Bullying

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Just Like YouIf you're a parent with a child on the autism spectrum, you know that sending them off to school can be hard. But this story is for other parents, the parents of the kids who don't have autism. Did you now that 62 percent of children on the autism spectrum report being bullied once a week or MORE?

It's one of the more sobering statistics I've come across this October, the month set aside as National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. And sadly, it only gets worse. A new report from the US Commission on Civil Rights shows 40 percent of parents with children on the spectrum report their child has been bullied for more than a year. And 94 percent of the parents of kids with Asperger's say their child has suffered at the hands of their peers.

As a mother whose child is not on the spectrum, the statistics are both shocking and depressing. We're doing everything we can to make sure our daughter isn't a bully, but I'll be honest: we also depend reports from her teachers to let us know if something naughty is going on. But the British National Autistic Society says one of the problems with autistic kids being bullied is that often they don't know to report it because of their syndrome.

Yikes!

The good news is people are trying to change it. The commission's report is pushing the US departments of education and justice both to focus on kids with disabilities in particular in all bullying efforts. And we, as parents can do a lot. Talk to your kids! There was a child on the spectrum in my daughter's kindergarten class, and that's what we did.

Also good news this month has inspired people to end the reign of terror for kids who can't always fight back themselves. The anti-bullying campaign is being expanded like never before to include means to help children with autism.

Of particular note, the Just Like You Foundation was launched by a Chicago philanthropist and now children's book author.  His new book shares its name with the foundation and features a deaf mouse and a spider with difficulty walking who become unlikely heroes for the very creatures who have long slighted them for being different. The Stir got hold of an advance copy, and it's not only beautifully illustrated by Hannah Harrison, but 100 of the profits from the book's sale are being split between non-profits that support children with disabilities including actress Holly Robinson Peete's autism charity, the HollyRod Foundation.

Are you making an effort to talk to your kids about bullying and autism?

 

Image via Just Like You Foundation

bullies, autism

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nonmember avatar Stephanie

My son just had his 5th birthday party, and we invited his whole K class to the local gymnastics club. One of the boys has severe Autism, and were sad to find out this was the first birthday party he had been invited to - his mom had even called to confirm that the invite was actually for him and that he hadn't gotten it by mistake! My son was excited that the little boy was allowed to come, and although the other boy spent the party with his parents playing apart from the rest of the kids, my son told me he was glad the boy came and was happy he had such a good time! My son knows the other boy is different, and has asked why and I have answered the best ways I can, but have always told him that the other boy has feelings just like my son and I, and that anything that he does to make others smile will make the other boy smile too, even if my son doesn't know it :)

nonmember avatar Sarah

As the mother of two profoundly Autistic childen, please let me say thank you to the "Nonmember" author/parent and son. We are deeply grateful for your inclusive nature and hope it is highly contagious. :)

bigndead bigndead

^---- that right there is awesome

tiny_... tiny_mama

As a mom of 3 autistic kids, I know this article is true.. I've given up on throwing birthday parties for my kids because maaaaybe 4 kids will rsvp, then they don't show up. It's really heartbreaking for my kids. :(

jadag... jadagirl410

My son is 6 and has autism. I don't do birthday parties and invite other kids because my son could care less. He's happy with just his family and his cake.

Lovin... Lovingmom0212

My son is 7 and he finally started making friends and smiling this year but  he still feels like he has no friends and to add to his autism he has ADHD and bipolar disorder. On wed Oct 12th a speeding driver hit him on his bike and because he doesn't really display pain no one even thought maybe ibuprofen wasn'tenough to control his pain with  three bones in his skull fractured his poor judgement and decision making shills make this even worse.  so sad right now.

nonmember avatar Sistah

My brother has Asperger's and he was tormented through middle school for it. It got a lot better after he joined the high school's cross country team. The sport was ideal because he only had to worry about himself while running the course and there was not contact with the other runners. His teammates accepted him and he become more socially adept because of them. He actually became well known and well liked in high school and was even voted Most Inspirational by the team his senior year.

Just thought I'd give hope to parents with kids on the spectrum that your child is not doomed to a life of bullying. There are kids who will see past the "disability" and realize your child's quirks are what make them so wonderful to be around.

Knuckles Knuckles

An individual is simply one of the many combinations of an indefinable number of attributes possible in a person.



No one is different and everyone is different. It doesnt mean there is anything "wrong" with them. Every person is unique. That's how I was raised. I plan on raising my kids the same way someday.

Knuckles Knuckles

I also have Aspergers btw. I wasn't diagnosed until my first year in college.

Maias... MaiasMommy619

Any parent who has children that would bully a child with autism or any other difficulty should be ashamed in their parenting. I make it my business to tell my dd to never ever ever bully any child or make fun of them. I remember being bullied for being the colored kid in class growing up...and that sticks with you forever. Not to mention all the kids that bullied me learned it from their "parents".

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