Children on the Autism Spectrum are particularly prone to being bullied. Most of which goes unreported. Yesterday, two juvenile males were arrested in Buffalo for allegedly punching and attempting to steal an autistic boy’s bicycle.
In the neighboring state of Michigan, basketball player Anthony Ianni speaks at schools on his experiences with autism and bullying at an early age.
Bullying generally refers to the act of forcing an individual especially children to do things they don’t want to or forcefully taking their belongings way from them. It also includes verbally abusing a weaker child and the act of getting things done by him/her. This act of bullying is usually seen in the peer group and is imposed on the weaker children by the physically and mentally stronger ones. Bullying can be of many kinds, mostly physical and psychological and bullying normally involves an imbalance of power. Students suffering from disorders like autism are very vulnerable to bullying and can also break them deeply in a psychological way.
Various studies report that as much 3 of every 5 autistic children have been subject to bullying. On autistic children, the impact of bullying can be very severe and profound. It is a serious problem in schools and other public places and it is advised that parents should always be alert about what is happening with their child and must intervene if their child is especially autistic and is being victimized to bullying. Students with disabilities like this are more prone to get bullied by their peers than the students without any kind of disability. Bullying seriously affects an autistic’s life as it also adversely affects the student’s ability to learn. Bullying can take place in many forms like calling a disabled child verbally abusive words or commenting harshly on their disability. All these can destroy the prevailing mental stability of an autistic child. Some children also have to face physical aggression like hitting and kicking which can also lead to a fall in their physical balance. Being threatened to do something also mentally harms the disabled child as it can hardly speak about this disability to any of its peer member or their family member. Racial bullying can deter a normal child but can completely break a disabled child. Children who have to go through sexual or cyber bullying also show considerable fall in their mental balance and also tend to injure themselves and can also enter long states of depression.
Autistic children who go through bullying should be helped by their family members and friends once they begin showing some signs like they are unwilling to attend school or show clumsiness in attending school. It is also often evidential when they show some kind of fear towards the school and anything related to it. Other symptom shown by a child is that he/she may show anxiety or extremely emotionally sensitive behaviour such as breaking down in every small problem. It can also be noticed by the changing daily routines of the child like sleeplessness or being unable o sleep together for days and showing a considerable cut down on the food intake by the child. Cuts or other wounds on a child’s body can also tell that the child has been a victim to some kind of physical abuse like bullying.
The children, especially those with certain challenges like the ones who suffer from autism, should be given extra care in public places like schools and surroundings.