Navigating the social morass of school can be difficult at the best of times, but for a child with an autism spectrum disorder, it can be especially difficult. Not only do they have to try and make their way through social situations that they may not understand, all too often, they are easy targets for bullies. Like so many victims, they are afraid to speak out, leaving them feeling isolated, alone and desperate for help.
Now, I could give you a list of do’s and don’ts for helping your child, but in some ways, that’s not really useful, as each situation is different and depends on the people and school policies involved. What I can do is to relate our experience and hope that you can get some ideas form it that you may be able to apply to your own life.
My oldest has #Aspergers , and even if she didn’t, she’d still stand out as she is really tall ( over five foot ten) and really beautiful…not just pretty, but beautiful. Waist length blonde hair, big blue eyes, and such a pretty face ( yes, I know I’m biased) She’s quiet, and because of the #medication she takes to help control her chronic pain condition, when she does speak, her speech tends to be slow and careful. Because of my husband’s job, we tend to move around a lot, and you add that all together, and you get a kid who could well have a lot of trouble fitting in.
She did manage to make some friends, mostly other kids who were nice but had trouble finding their place. Even so, she was still a target for#bullying. She was picked at by a group of girls who were just plain mean, which was bad enough, but then it crossed the line. I had called the school and spoken with them dozens of times, and said they tried to help, but it didn’t make much difference. Their school is large, and she walked to and from #school. Their administration can’t do anything about a student once they have left the school grounds, or so they told us.
These girls and the guys they hung around with came by our house and threw a rock through our window. That was the last straw. I called the police. A few of the group were charged, and one who wasn’t called me to apologize.
I thought that was behind her. I was wrong.
The group kept it up, and she lost hope that it would ever stop. She figured that since we had tried to help and nothing had really changed, there was no point in telling us. She was also scarred about what the #bullies would do to her. They threatened her physically and made her school days horrible. It even hapened #online. It was only when we moved away again that she was able to open up, but it was too late. The damage had been done.
Her new school is much better, and she is finally feeling settled in enough to let down her guard and try to make friends again.
Looking back, there are some things I would have done differently. First, I would have pressed the police to charge the girls with #harassment. This went beyond teasing, which is bad enough, but it was verbal harassment. I would have also made the school more accountable. When the school told us that we could pull her out and homeschool her, I knew that they really didn’t care that much. She had the right to an #education, and if these girls were interfering in that right, then why should they be allowed to do so? Why should they be allowed to stay in school while she be expected to leave?
She’s doing much better now, and while the experience may have made her a stronger person, I don’t think it was worth it. While it may have given her strength, it also destroyed a part of her that I hope she can get back, the part that sees the good in people and doesn’t assume they will just end up hurting her the way these girls did. So far, the signs are good that she is on the path back to finding that piece of herself again.
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I'm a freelance writer with several years of experience in writing blog posts, advertising copy, product reviews and other web content. I have an undergraduate degree in Political Science, and a diploma in plant science technology. While that may be a strange combination, it's given me a wide knowledge base that I can call on when I write.
When I'm not writing for work, I enjoy writing pieces about mental health advocacy, sustainable living, gardening, autism, birds, animals and the environment.
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