Great article on npr.com about how kids with autism spectrum disorders are particularly vulnerable to bullying. In other news, water is also wet.
In the article, it points out that autism spectrum kids who are more outgoing are more likely to be targets for bullies than the more aloof children with autism.
Debbie and I can testify to this. Our two sons both have autism spectrum disorders. Brad, our oldest has Asperger’s and Ryan, the youngest, has more of a ‘classic’ case of autism.
Like many Asperger’s kids, Brad wanted very much to be a part of the crowd and accepted. His lack of understanding of social cues and how to interact with others made him an easy target for every jerk kid out there who was looking for someone to push around.
I won’t go into all the particulars here, but we had a devil of a time with Brad’s trip through high school.
Ryan, on the other hand, was more introverted and quiet and had a totally different experience in school. His classmates were very understanding and went out of their way to include Ryan and protect him.
With so much focused on the causes and ramifications of bullying in schools today, maybe we can reach a point where more kids have a great school experience like Ryan and not a bad one like Brad had.
It is going to take a concerted effort of parents, teachers and administrators out there to make this happen.
Right now there is a movie out there called “Bully”. It is in theaters now. I plan to see it.
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