As my son gets closer to starting a new school year and is entering a new building with older and bigger children I can’t help not to begin my piranha thoughts of my son being bullied by bigger kids.
I was fortunate to be physically healthy and an athlete growing up as a kid and was always picked in the early stages of team play. I only hope that the modern teachers assign teams today and have figured out the pain the last picked kids endure.
Asperger’s kids may have difficulty determining the intention of another child. So an Asperger’s child may strike back confused that it is malicious aggression from another child wanting to play. The result usually ends in the friend not returning. When both parties are laughing and enjoying the experience , it is usually not bullying.
Lets discuss bullying for a moment. It is more common in hallways, school transport , sports, recess etc. Also unfortunately, neighbors, family friends and older siblings. More subtle bullying and devastating might be stealing ones possessions, gossip and rumor spreading, obscene gestures. I know these could happen to any child , but its the coping mechanisms that is different. Not being invited to parties and social events, meal times and being chosen last for the team is also bullying.
Because Asperger’s kids tend to be less street smart, very trusting and somewhat naive sometimes they can easily be ‘setup’ by other children. This worries me alot. Asperger’s syndrome makes it difficult to recognize the social meaning, context, cues and my worst fear; consequences. Another adult or police officer may not know of your child’s Asperger’s and thinks your child was full aware of what they have done, yikes!
Please , parents with children with autism disorders , as your child gets older , go to your local police chief. Let them know your child has Asperger’s ,explain it to them if they don’t know what it is. Have it on record . Make them write it down, that Asperger’s can’t control some verbal and physical outburst, they can’t filter their thoughts as well as you and I. Give them your child’s therapist phone number in case of an incident. Do it now! oh and yes, we have done it for our 10 year old son.
Most kids are reluctant to report acts of bullying to their parents. Don’t let it happen. Keep communicating. Asperger’s kids have unique strength in honesty, they cannot tell a lie. Use it to your advantage, ask them straight out if they think any bullying is going on.
Thinking about this brings me back to my own childhood , remembering when one of the family dogs had a litter of about 12 puppies. There was this one puppy that was kinda of ugly and weak ,the runt of the litter and always being pushed away at meal time ,walked over and peed on (sorry). Weeks went by and it was time to give them away. A little girl came by with her mom and guess who got picked first.
In Part -Two, Why are children with Asperger’s syndrome more likely to be targets and signs of bullying. In Part-Three, We fight back!