Monday, 23 November 2009
Every day there’s a new story in the paper, in the news about a child with special needs being bullied on the playground, in the halls of school, etc. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it first hand with my own children. The lack of social skills makes children with autism a particularly easy target of bullies. Kids with autism are usually loners. They don’t want to tattle on the bully for fear of ridicule, embarrassment or retaliation. With proper social skills autism therapy, autism education, and autism information, a child with autism can become less of a target for bullying.
There’s a great overview article on bullying online:
It gives an overview of what bullying is, what causes someone to bully another person and how to avoid a bully. So many children (and adults) with autism simply don’t understand HOW to avoid awkward social situations or awkward people. Again, they are easy prey for bullies.
Kids with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome are FOUR TIMES more likely to be bullied than neuro-typical children. So it is important that parents (and school administrators) take the time to work with children with ASD and help them with social skills. Know what behavior is acceptable, and what is not.
There’s another great on line article for parents to check out on Asperger’s Syndrome and bullying:
It explains why children with ASD are “easy targets”, gives parents the signs to look for if your child is being bullied and strategies to prevent bullying.
Sounds simple enough. But the bottom line is to address not only the children with Autism Spectrum Disorders but the bullies themselves. All can benefit from Social Skills training. Role playing in the classroom. Having special therapy time with a school specialist. Chances are, the bully is having as much trouble in life as the child with Autism Spectrum Disorders. They just have a different way of showing it. With the proper autism therapy, autism education, and autism information, bully and ASD child can learn to co-exist peacefully.