My child is not yet in middle school and I am already worried about bullies.
I had a gym teacher tell me a few years ago that she could pick out a bully at a young age. It was a 3rd grade class.
Her statement made me nervous.
Then, I attended a conference where a speaker said, “All kids get bullied in middle school. Middle school is hard for all kids, not just ours.”
What is my take on bullies?
I have a son on the autism spectrum. He’s already had kids in elementary school call him “weird.” (Although, it’s only happened twice.)
The problem is that sometimes my kid looks “weird.” When he’s outside running around and flapping his hands to regulate his body or even when he’s trying to have a conversation with a peer, he comes off as not looking like your typical kid.
His speech is sometimes stilted and he often doesn’t look at the person who is talking to him. To a person who doesn’t know my son or know anything about autism, he may come off looking odd.
This makes him a bully target.
And, we all know that middle school is infamous for bullying behavior.
Because of that reason alone, I’m a bit nervous for my running, flapping, noise-making child.
Am I over-reacting?
Perhaps. But, the odds of my kid getting bullied are still higher than most typical students. That’s just what I believe (and fear).
How can I help?
One thing I am doing while my son is still in elementary school is attempting to get a core group of his peers to know him. He’s been at this same school now for five and half years and I’m hoping that, at least, some of the kids that have been there with him for all of those years can see his running or hand waving and simply say, “Oh, that’s just ______. He’s okay. He just does that.” (Or, something to that effect.) And ot get intimidated or creeped out by my son’s actions.
In my next blog, I’ll discuss how teachers and other adults can help in bullying situations, what I tell my child about bullies, and what I try to do to help my child with autism.
To Find Kimberly Kaplan:
Go to Amazon.com to purchase “Two Years of Autism Blogs Featured on
www.smashwords.com or Amazon Kindle ebook “A Parents’ Guide to Early Autism Intervention”