In understanding why autistic children are often the target of immense bullying ,it is unfortunately obvious that children typically fear and misunderstand anything that differs from the ‘norm.’ As such, kids may react negatively to an autistic child displaying behaviors never before encountered simply because they do not understand what is going on. Furthermore, some autistic children lack the social skills necessary for them to communicate effectively with their peers. This can lead to isolation and even greater misunderstanding by peers. Young children and adolescents are often insecure themselves and look to bolster their own self-esteem by tearing down anyone who seems different. Moreover, the incentive to blend in often pushes children to bully when seeing others do so. Autistic children’s difficulty with communication may render them unable to properly inform adults or teachers of the situation; they may not be able to adequately express what’s happening to them or know how to stop it. Therefore, if teachers are not aware the child is autistic they may never see or hear of the bullying.
The above reasons of childhood bullying reflect the common theme of a lack of education. Young children and teachers do not always seem to understand the behavior of an autistic child or the negative effects of their bullying. The autistic does not understand why they are being bullied or how to stop it. For this reason, the most important solution to end bullying is education for teachers, children and autistics. Children need to be taught early on, not only about autism, but also about the differences we see in all people. Exposure to autistics (if the autistic is comfortable with it) when the children are aware of everything would go a long way in reducing the misunderstandings between the two. It is also important to teach children at an early age how negative and harmful bullying can be. This goes for teachers as well. Teachers need to be aware of autism and any child that may be a target of bullying so that they may be vigilant for any signs of this harmful behavior. Increased supervision by teachers would no doubt decrease bullying overall.
It is important for autistic children to be educated about bullying and how to inform a teacher or parent if it’s going on. This way, the child will not suffer silently, unable to communicate the problem. In addition, providing autistic children with resources, such as a group of fellow autistics or even a group of peers with similar interests would facilitate social interactions, connection, and understanding amongst peers. Such resources would be beneficial in helping an autistic child feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed in tough, unfamiliar situations. They would also provide an outlet where any concerns could be expressed and subsequently addressed.