Bullying of kids with autism spectrum disorder is a big problem. They are often the butt of jokes in schools and also subject to physical harassment. But before taking steps to stop your child from being bullied, let’s first find out what leads to autism bullying.
The inability to communicate feelings and thoughts usually gives rise to bullying. There are certain traits among autistic children that make them vulnerable to bullying. Kids diagnosed with autism may have all or at least some of these characteristics.
- Limited control on situations and what’s happening around them
- Low to very low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy
- Difficulty to interpret facial expressions, vocal tone, and body language
- Socially estranged from their peers
- Labeled as inadequate by teachers and peers
- Appear depressed and/or self-destructive
What parents can do
Here’s what a parent can do to stop autism bullying
- Inform the school officials whenever you hear your child or some other autistic kid is being bullied
- Help the child to talk about the problem by starting the conversation yourself and slowly gaining the child’s confidence in you
- Encourage out-of-the-classroom playtime with other children
How parents can prevent autism bullying
- Speak to the autistic child about bullying. Tell him/her why it is wrong to misbehave with others. Give examples of acceptable and good interaction with others
- Even children with mild to very mild autism are at risk of being bullied. Have him/her stay as close to the playground supervisors as possible during a recess or lunch
- Never allow an autistic child to carry money or other valuables to school
- Try to come up with a detailed schedule for your child about what to do during a recess. Include activities like 5-10 minutes on the swing or about the same time on the jump rope
- Ask your child’s teacher whether there’s a “buddy system” to walk your child to and from classes
A little awareness and some precautionary measures can keep a child away from autism bullying.
The information and opinions shared in each article represent the point of view of the author of the article and may not necessarily be endorsed by Autism Today or Rangam.