Here is some information about the bullying and harassment of students with autism and disabilities. I think those of us working with kids with autism have a different type of challenge before us. One thing you have learned about people with autism is that social and communication cues are very difficult. Therefore, when you think about someone mocking or teasing a person with autism, a lot of times it goes right over that person's head. This can be a good thing because often they do not realize, but that can also make it a harder thing to combat.
I remember sitting at a lunch table a few years ago and watching a large group of popular boys tease and mock a student with very high functioning autism. Of course I stood up for the boy, but it was very difficult for me to get through to that boy that the other boys were making fun of him. All he knew is that they were popular, they were talking to him and they were laughing (which in his mind meant he was funny). This is why it is so important (in my eyes) for people to know and understand this about autism and to be willing to stick up for their peers. This is one reason why LINKS is SO important in this school.
This is taken from AutismSpeaks.org on the subject of bullying and harassment:
"Children with special needs face unique challenges for dealing with bullying. They often stand out from their peers in ways that make them targets for bullying, and children who have difficulty with social interactions have an even higher risk of being bullied.
Bullying certainly isn't a new problem; it has existed for generations. Historically, many have seen it as a rite of passage, a type of de facto hazing. According to Dr. Peter Raffalli, a pediatric neurologist at the Children's Hospital in Boston, Mass., this attitude is, in many cases, more dangerous than the bullies themselves. "No matter how you look at it, bullying is a form of abuse victimization, plain and simple," said Dr. Raffailli. "It's a case of the strong - or at least the stronger - preying on the weak. It says volumes about where we are as a culture and race."
Bullying has negative effects on all its victims, but kids with special needs are especially vulnerable, according to Nancy A. Murphy, M.D., FAAP and chair of the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities Executive Committee. "Since these children already struggle with self-esteem issues," said Dr. Murphy, "bullying has a greater impact and they desire to fit in, and are less likely to stand up for themselves.""
The following article is also a great informational piece about why bullying is so harmful to students with disabilities and how to best combat it.
10 Facts About Bullying of Students with DisabilitiesDownload File
Whew! Heavy topic for the week. I hope you got a lot out of it though! Please go and check the homework tab for what I want you to do with this information.
Mrs. VanLaan, Mrs. Hoekwater, & Mrs. Bosch