What is bullying and who is bullied?
Almost any child or adult that is different is typically a target of bullying. However, people with autism are especially prone to bullying because others view them as extremely different. Bullying is any form of physical or mental abuse, typically from other children. However, bullying can come from parents and teachers who do not understand why an autistic child acts a certain way. Bullying can be physical or emotional including, but not limited to gossip, name calling, rumors, and ridiculing. Bullying usually begins at a young age before they have had therapy to teach them more socially acceptable behaviors and before they learn social norms. Most of the time the bullying that involves autistic children stems from their social abilities, communication abilities, and their repetitive habits. Because autistic children do not understand why they are being bullied and other children do not know why autistics (or other different or disabled children) are different, education is the key to the elimination of bullying.
What can you do about bullying?
Many kids have been bullied in their lives and they all know that it is not fun. If you see someone being bullied, you should tell someone immediately. You can tell a friend, teacher, parent or any adult. The goal is to tell someone so that they can stop what is going on. However, even more important than telling someone about bullying is to make sure you don’t do it yourself. If you know what it feels like to be made fun of or beat up for being different, you should realize that bullying is not okay for anyone to go through. Just because you aren’t the victim of bullying doesn’t make it okay. Make sure to not gossip about others, spread rumors, or make fun of other children for their differences.
Always remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.