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How Can Parents Help their Autistic Child who is Being Bullied

By Darlene Oakley HERWriter
 
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how to help when your autistic child is being bullied
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Autism Support Network reports that 160,000 children miss school every day because they’re afraid of being bullied. A recent Interactive Autism Network survey found that:

• 63 percent of children in grades 1 through 10 (ages 6 to 15) report having been bullied

• 43 percent of ASD children who attended regular public schools report being bullied

• 61 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome reported being bullied

• 28 percent of children with autism and 37 percent of children with other ASDs reported being bullied

What makes dealing with or addressing the bullying more difficult with children on the autism spectrum is, particularly, their inability to read social cues and to always verbalize what has happened and what they’re feeling inside.

Their natural obsessive tendencies also make it extremely hard for them to let go of those feelings and facilitate healing, and can interfere with ignoring or dismissing hurtful comments.

Some ASD children will fight back and may be punished for fighting back. Others may just retreat into a protective shell and not react at all. Meanwhile, the feelings build up inside affecting other areas of school and home life.

So, what can parents do to help their ASD child and teachers effectively settle the bullying situation?

The Role Parents Can Play Against Bullying

First of all, remember that you are your child’s own best advocate, and that children — regardless of their age — should never be expected or encouraged to settle the issue themselves. ASD children, by their very nature, don’t have the emotional and life-wisdom resources to deal with this issue by themselves.

The fact that they have an ASD makes them even more vulnerable to being bullied, and to the effects of being bullied, than neurotypical children. They need the support of adults.

Adults — parents, teachers, educational assistants, caregivers — need to know how to communicate effectively with children with ASDs. They need to speak the children's language.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I agree, the adult needs to step in on 2 levels and educate the child who is bullying so they will conduct themselves appropriately and learn what they are doing is wrong and why it is wrong. Plus they need to reassure the special needs child and offer support so that they will learn if these type of situations come up again they will know what to do.

April 17, 2013 - 2:54pm
Darlene Oakley HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your thoughts. I didn't make that point in this particular article--I did write a separate article a few months ago about dealing with the bully, but it does bear mentioning again here.

April 17, 2013 - 6:52pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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