October is Bullying Prevention Month. It is a fact that autistic people are bullied at greater than average rates and are often goaded into meltdowns or other behaviors so that bullies can make fun of them. A report from the Interactive Autism Network showed that 67 percent of autistic children between the ages of 6 and 15 have reported being bullied.
As Christina MacNeal pointed out in a blog she wrote on bullying many times people on the autism spectrum don’t even realize they are being bullied. Bullying is an imbalance of power. Bullies want us to react so they can exert power over us.
It is important for autistic people to realize first when they are being bullied and secondly how to react to a bully. Many times the best reaction is to walk (or if need be) run away. Seek help from a trusted adult.
As part of Bullying Prevention Month The Art of Autism is dedicated to giving autistic people and their families resources that may help them with this widespread and pervasive problem. Here is a video that has gone viral on Facebook about how to deal with a bully.
This video shows a person engaging with the bully. Often times it is better to walk away and don’t respond. Bullies gain power through a reaction from you. There is a saying “Stop, Walk, and Talk.” Stay calm, don’t fight or talk back, and report what is happening to you to a trusted adult.
Bullies are insecure people who want to take away your power so they can feel better about themselves. Don’t let them!