Sadly there are many children in this country who face bullying. Children with autism are often among them. It is not uncommon for children on the spectrum to lack social skills that can make them a prime target for bullying. As their parents, you want to help prevent your child from being bullied. But what if it’s already happening? Read on to learn our tips to help autistic children with bullying.
If your child is being bullied in school, you should be aware that the staff and administrators have a legal responsibility to respond to that bullying in a quick and meaningful manner.
Tips to Help Autistic Children with Bullying
This is by no means a complete list, and there are many advocacy groups that have many recommendations.
Encourage Them to Ignore It
Bullies want one thing. Attention. They want everyone to see what they’re doing, and react to it.
The best way to stop bullying is to not care about it.
If a bully picks on your students, and they have no reaction, then the bully is not getting what they want and will move on to something else.
However, if they do get reactions out of your child, that will teach them this is a way they can get what they want.
Of course, this trick can be difficult or easy for your child, depending on their personality. Sometimes children with autism will miss that they are being bullied completely. Other times it will upset them more greatly.
Make sure to customize this advice to your child’s needs.
Remind Them of How Special They Are
It is also common for children on the autism spectrum to forget that their brains are actually amazing things. They spend so much time with teachers or service providers who are trying to change how they operate that they don’t realize all the things they do well.
Many children with autism excel in certain areas, well beyond their age range. Others feel a deep passion for things like music, insects, engineering, or outer space.
This can lead to an almost genius level of knowledge in one area that brings them much joy.
Even if your child does not experience this, they are still unique and wonderful and deserve to know it!
Part of what the bullies are making fun of is your child’s brain, which operates in a unique way. Remind them of all the good things their brain has brought them.
What’s most important is how they feel about themselves, not how people who just want to be mean feel. Raise up their confidence and make them appreciate all the great things about themselves, as much as you do.
Bring your Concerns to Teachers and Administration
After talking to your child this should be the first thing you do. School staff members and teachers have to know about bullying going on in their school for safety reasons.
Be sure to include what your child says happened, who was involved when the incidents occurred, and forward any relevant information from your child’s computer in the event of cyberbullying.
Save all communications between yourself and the school regarding the bullying, and keep notes during any meetings you have about it.
Keep Track of What Does and Does not Change
After telling the school and talking to your child, do not assume that the situation is handled.
Make sure the school follows up, and keep track of what impact their actions have. Schools can sometimes worsen bullying intentionally or on purpose.
Schools must comply with all federal civil rights laws. This offers your child certain protections because of their disability, and failing to respond to bullying can be a sign of discrimination.
To learn more about the signs of discrimination download our free checklist.
When to Call a Lawyer
Sometimes tips to help autistic children with bullying don’t work, and you have to go the extra mile to ensure your child has a safe learning environment.
If you are concerned that bullying at school is infringing on your child’s civil rights you should call a personal injury lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case and what your legal options are.
We at Cueto Law are always happy to take your call at 618-277-1554.