Bullying is an alarming issue that has been prevailing on a massive scale. It’s a critical situation that must be avoided and controlled. Bullying can indeed happen to anyone. But some observe that children and adults with autism are more recipients of bullying than others. So it has become crucial to highlight this matter and spread awareness about it. Before moving ahead, let’s look at what bullying is.
What is bullying?
We can explain bullying as a behavior and action that intends to hurt someone emotionally or physically. It means a person becomes the victim of another aggressive behavior. It can be physical and verbal. According to Wikipedia:
“Bullying is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse aggressively dominates or intimidates.”
Bullying and Autism
Bullying and autism are usually associated with each other. It’s a reality that anyone can encounter bullying, but kids and adults with autism are more at risk of being bullied. The most important thing to mention is that autistic experience bullying from other persons in society and their siblings. It means autistics are not even safe at home.
Research published in a journal highlights that 44% of children with autism are more at risk of being bullied. Studies show that school-going children struggling with autism are also victimized by bullying at school.
How to tackle bullying? Responsibilities of parents
Whether autistic children are being bullied at school or home, parents should think about it seriously. Not only think about it but also they should take problem-solving steps to save their child from this critical situation. As we’ve discussed earlier that kids are being bullied basically in two places:
• At school
• At home
If the child is being bullied at school, parents should immediately take serious notice of it. Parents should contact the school, telling them the whole situation and asking for their child’s safety. The school and parents should develop a proper plan to protect kids and stop bullying.
While if a child with Autism encounters bullying at home by their siblings, parents should take important measures to handle the situation. They should make their children realize that bullying isn’t something good. It can severely harm feelings and emotions. It can cause anxiety and tension. Even bullying can cause physical damage. So, it’s essential to establish limits on bullying behaviors at home.
Assure your child that you’re observing everything about bullying and will do everything to stop it. Alongside this, teach your child that being bullied is never acceptable. I should not advise the victim to fight back. It can escalate the issue. Instead, give them awareness about the ways to handle the situations. Freier Randall is a pediatric Neurodevelopmental Psychologist. She suggests:
“We should teach every child to recognize what bullying is and know that being bullied is not acceptable.”
What should teachers do?
Teachers can also contribute to tackling thy bullying. They should report the bullying behavior at once when they observe any bullying issue. Teachers should encourage the victim child to describe the whole matter. But what if the child cannot describe the situation? We should encourage kids to write about it or draw the situation. Also, make them realize they shouldn’t bear it at all. Instead, we should raise our voices against it.
To conclude, I would say that teasing a person facing any disability is against civil rights. So, we should avoid it. Parents must know it, and we should never ignore it. Studies show that almost 60% of autistic people come across bullying. Bullying can create in autistics low self-esteem and several other mental health issues. It’s not the duty only for parents to take action over it. But the need of an hour is to change our thoughts and behavior towards autistics.