Autism and possible bullying

@dawnald (84148)
Shingle Springs, California
June 10, 2009 11:57am CST
I e-mailed some concerns to my husband about our son. The girls said some things this morning about a boy who was supposedly his friend taking advantage of him. The had seen him pushing Cary around and talking Cary into giving (rather than trading) him some of his Pokemon cards. So I'm a bit concerned about bullying. Here's Richard's response: [i] These are the days of elementary school that I disliked. I saw other kids doing these sort of things with the kids from special ed when I was in school. I did not get involved until these two boys picked on a mentally retarded kid. They taught him bad words, pushed him around and took his lunch. That was when I got involved. Instead of going to the teacher, (I probably should have) I got into their face. They pretty much stopped the stuff, but the damage was done on the poor kid. Almost immediately there after the parents pulled the kid out of school. I did not see him again until one day in High School. When he saw me and he recognized me. He had a big smile. That was the last time I saw him. Kids take advantage of kids that can not defend themselves or try desperately to blend in. I fear Cary is doing the same. The fear of rejection for Cary is much greater then the fear of pain. Until it is too late and Cary is left wondering what he did wrong. How do we get this message across to Cary. This is just the beginning. 4 to 6 grade kids got much worse. I never saw any of this in Jr high, but then I never saw any special ed kids their either. Only in high school did I see any of them again. It is possible that we will have some tough tims coming if we don't get Cary to understand what they are doing. Right now he is open to new things but if he is hurt several times by others, then he will withdraw to himself. The question is, how do we teach Cary to trust those that have good intentions and stay away from those who have bad intentions?[/i] So yeah, how do we teach this to him? I'm not sure he will understand. But I'm going to have a talk with his social skills teacher about it.
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11 responses
• Regina, Saskatchewan
10 Jun 09
All kids take a certain amount of bullying over their school years, and most of them learn to deal. But I'm taking from your title to this discussion that Cary is autistic? I can't begin to tell you how to deal with this sweets, except to definitely talk to his social skills teacher. More than Cary needing to learn, it's the OTHER kids that need to learn. My youngest has ODD. He was terribly bullied in school. I finally got so fed up with the school's lack of dealing with the matter, that I got a job at the school as a teacher's aide and went from classroom to classroom giving a talk to all the grades about ODD, ADD, bullying and accepting people for who they were no matter how different. My son was still made fun of by the harder headed kids, but the majority of the students had a greater appreciation of the range of differences between them, and that that didn't make anyone better than the other, and for the years at that school that I worked there, the bullying was at a minimum. Kids getting bullied would say "Mrs. .................. is going to have a word with you!", and NO one wanted to have to talk to me about their behavior! LOL I can only wish you the best Dawn and pray that Cary is better accepted and gets through this phase of his life without too much emotional turmoil. I know all that is inadequate, but it's the best I can do...........
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
10 Jun 09
Yes, Cary has autism and I'm not quite certain how much he is or is not capable of figuring out when somebody is taking advantage of him. But we'll have a talk with him and with the social skills teacher also. Probably many talks with him. There's probably even a book out about it. I should go and look...
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• Regina, Saskatchewan
10 Jun 09
Dawn, here's a link that may help you in your search for books: http://www.autism-resources.com/autism-bib.html Good Luck,
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
10 Jun 09
Thanks!
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@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
10 Jun 09
That's something difficult even for a child who doesn't have any mental problems. My oldest son is the same way, and he is not autistic. He doesn't really get bullied, but his friends are so important to him that he lets them get away with murder, and they walk all over him. Usually I deal with each individual circumstance as it comes up, hoping that in time he'll just learn to stop letting them take advantage of him. But he won't. It's his need for others to like him that's the problem, and I don't know how to address that.
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
10 Jun 09
It's different with each child, I guess. My oldest, Dearra, doesn't let anybody walk all over her and she doesn't care if somebody doesn't like her because of it. Naomi will put up with a lot more for a friend. But with Cary, he just doesn't know the difference between being a good friend and being taken advantage of.
• United States
10 Jun 09
I don't know if he'd understand it, but ask him if he thinks these kids would do the same for him. Being a good friend is doing something for someone who'd return the favor if you needed them to, those who wouldn't return the favor are just taking advantage. Try explaining that to him in a way he'd understand.
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
10 Jun 09
Yep I'll give it a go...
@JDBentz (37)
• United States
25 Aug 09
Children with autism are often called 'bully magnets' by professionals. This is because even if they don't tell anyone about their autism, there is still something about them that projects the possibility of weakness to the feeble ego of the bully. I'm a 23 year old with Aspergers Syndrome. While it can be considered a milder form of autism, I faced some of the same difficulties that your son faces when I was in elementary school. Working with your son on learning how to spot a person who is simply using him is going to be difficult, because one thing I can tell you is that above all else, your son wants to feel accepted by his peers. He has feelings that he can't articulate, which frustrates him, and so he is happy when he sees himself being accepted by the 'cool crowd'. For people like he and I, it is best to have a small circle of friends, even if it's just a single, trustworthy one. It is likely that your son will be resistant to your telling him that this boy is bullying him into the actions you stated above, and it may be that you will have to speak directly with the parents of said child. Sometimes that will work, but sometimes it doesn't. The largest difference between myself and your son is that not only are there programs in place that might help, which I have ascertained you are already enrolling him in, but your son may be unwilling to stand up for himself. Sometimes, an autistic child will need something that drives him to do that. For me, I had problems at home during my childhood, and the schoolground was the one place where I could assert control. Since the opposite seems to be in effect here, an option might be to have a child psychologist or someone else whose trained for it to help your son gain more self-confidence and -worth. You sound as though you do all you can to support your son, but in the merciless eyes of bullies, that's not enough for an autistic child. He needs people at the school who will take his side unconditionally. Whether it be a teacher, the principal, a part-time counselor, etc., it is a good idea to find someone to be that advocate. I hope that you find a way to balance your son's life and keep these bullies from taking too much advantage of him.
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
25 Aug 09
School isn't so much the problem as after school day care and thank goodness his sisters are there to take care of him. The people at day care aren't really trained to handle special needs children. But I might be able to find one who is willing to look out for him. Meanwhile, we talk to him as best we can. The situation seems to have gotten better some in the last 3 months, but you never know what might flare up...
• United States
12 Jun 09
Dawn- It can be very difficult indeed to deal with a bully, no matter what the circumstances. I found a website for you that is for teachers but might have some useful tips, etc. http://www.teachervision.fen.com/autism/resource/10154.html I hope things continue to improve for you and I'll keep researching seeing what I can find for you. Namaste-Anora
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
12 Jun 09
Looks interesting. Thanks!!!
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
11 Jun 09
Breaks my heart hearing this. I also have an Autistic child & although all kids go through a stage of being bullied, it is different with an AUtistic child. I don't know what development stage your son is at, but with us, my son wouldn't even understand if we did try to explain to him right now. But my son is young still & right now he does good in school, but I'm worried for when he is older. I hope it works out... I hope your son will be able to understand you when you have that talk..
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
12 Jun 09
He will at least somewhat be able to understand.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
11 Jun 09
Kids can be so horrible and barbaric to each other. Whateever happend to kindness and consideration? This has to be addressed NOW by the school. Often if what is wrong is explained to the other children then it may cease. My son who is dyslexic also suffered until put my foot down and said enough is enough. But these times are different . Dawn - I don't know - just get help and take advice but also go with your gut feeling. I am sorry that Carey has to go through this. I know that thiws is not a good answer - just expressing my concern. Blessings
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jun 09
This is actually not a school thing, but after school day care. For right now I don't think it's so bad that I need to talk to them. We are talking to him about what kinds of things a friend does and so on. For example, a person who borrows something from you and then brings it back is a friend. A person who borrows things from you and never brings them back despite promises to do so is not a friend. Thanks for the concern! :-)
@reckon21 (3487)
• Philippines
11 Jun 09
When the child has autism they need the understanding and proper care of the people around him. Children with these kind of problem are prone to bullying at school. The teacher should tell other students the importance of understanding the kids that has this kind of problem.
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jun 09
this happened at after school day care and I don't think they take as much care with it as during regular school hours. Anyway he's a bright boy and we are teaching him that a person who does certain things isn't a friend.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
11 Jun 09
That seems like a hard thing to teach any kid. I was bullied a bit in school for my reading problems, but only by kids in my class who knew I could barely read. At least it wasn't something obvious that every kid in the school would recognize. I don't remember the special ed kids at our elementary school because they ate and played at separate times to avoid bullying. But in high school they ate with us. And sometimes people would push them out of line and take their money. Once a special ed boy dropped his money and someone else was right about to get it. I grabbed it before the other person and quickly handed it to the boy, who seemed really shocked that I wasn't trying to also steal from him like everyone else. It's really sad that people would pick on others just because they see a weakness, but they do. My best friend is disabled and she told me the best advice she ever got to avoid being picked on, was not to tell anyone your weaknesses. You can see with her that something is wrong, but without people having something specific to pick on, she got left alone for the most part. I on the other hand got nicknames like "pirate" for wearing a patch and I thought telling people it was because of my eye condition would make them understanding, but it just made it worse. Even now my best friend will tell me things sometimes and then be shocked that I never knew that about her. It's because she has this protective wall up. You have to wait several years to really learn much about her past and stuff.
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jun 09
I don't know that this other kid knows Cary has autism, but kids will take advantage of any perceived weakness. He doesn't let his sisters walk all over him though, so hopefully he will learn not to let friends do it.
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
11 Jun 09
Sometimes its even hard for kids who don't have autism to recognize when they are being taken advantage of. You've got your work cut out for you. Fortunately, it seems like you also have a great support system with your family and with your friends here in mylot. I'm sure you will figure things out. You seem to be well on your way to doing so already. I just wanted to offer some positive encouragement at least, since I don't have any great solutions to suggest.
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jun 09
Thanks for the support and yep I at least have some ideas on how to approach the problem! thanks!
@gabs8513 (48716)
• United Kingdom
10 Jun 09
Dawn this is terrible I know how you feel as a Parent, but the sadness is that your Cary as you say needs to learn who he can and can't trust which will not be easy for him I really do not know how you could teach him as you say he will not understand, I wish I could give you the answers but I really can't
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
10 Jun 09
I have some ideas. Examples of what the girls say this boy is doing and why those aren't things that a friend would do. We shall see...
@savypat (20246)
• United States
10 Jun 09
his is a terribly sad fact of life. It's one of those times when humans turn their animal side on. If you ever watch a group of chimps or even a herd of animals, they turn on the one that is ill, or different in any way. That is why white deer don't live long. Maybe you could use the animal scenario to teach him that happens when you are different. He must know he's different. I was different in school and my parents just kept telling me I was special but left me to face the bullying alone, I don't know it they didn't know or if they just thought it would make me tough. We'll I had a terrible time all through school, until college when no one cared. It did leave me scared for life but I can't tell you I've had a worse life or a better one than if it had never happened at all. Blessings
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
10 Jun 09
In my case, my parents had no idea that I was different and really, neither did I. We've talked to him a little, mainly about why his twin sister is a year ahead of him in school. Haven't made much headway with getting him to understand yet. But he's asking a lot more questions and thinking about things more. I don't mind telling him that he's different, but I want to do it in a positive way.