Teen With Autism Defeats Bullies to Take Homecoming Princess Title

princess crownOh karma, how do I love thee? In the case of an autistic teenager about to become her school's homecoming princess, the answer is soooooo much. The thing is, Rachel Sampson's name was added to the ballot as a prank by some juvenile bullies. And slam bang in the middle of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, they're getting their comeuppance.

That's some be-a-yoo-ti-ful karma right there. And it's a good lesson for all of us in how to help our kids fight their bullies.

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Remember high school, when our parents just didn't get how cruel people could be? They told us to laugh it off and it would stop? It was as though "kids will be kids" was the go-to answer for any bullying

But the autism community has made big strides in forcing parents to remember that they're their kids' best advocates, that kids still need to be "raised" even inside a school building. And it just so happens that Sampson has Asperger's, which has made the difficult high school years even more difficult to manage on a social level. But the jerks who put her name forward for homecoming court obviously expected her to fit into the media-prescribed role for a kid with autism. She was "supposed" to be overcome, unable to deal with it, and her mom was probably "supposed" to get her name taken off the ballot.

Except parents of kids on the spectrum know that their kids are a heckuva lot stronger than the public perception of a child with autism. Sampson met them head on. With her mom's help, she started a Facebook campaign to actually WIN the princess crown (at 14, she's too young for queen). And she did. She's got the title. It's hers. Fair and square.

The elder Sampson didn't do it all, but she didn't tell her kid to just grin and bear it. She helped her daughter construct a smart mechanism for facing down the bullies, and it worked.

Have your kids faced bullies? What have you done to help them?

 

Image via Siti Saad/Flickr

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