Individuals with autism spectrum are often victims of bullying at their schools, work, or at their community. Bullying is a very serious matter that may have effects in the individual’s academic progress and self-esteem often leading to depression, anxiety, loneliness, lack of motivation, etc.
The American Autism Association has a strong stand against bullying and since October is the National Bullying Awareness Prevention Month we feel is a good time to provide our community with valuable information to prevent and combat this terrible practice.
1. Treat everyone with respect
Always keep in mind that everyone is different from you, not better or worse – just different. Always think first before saying something that might be hurtful to someone.
2. Raise Awareness
Raise awareness in your community to create safe environments with zero tolerance for bullies. Join AAA in our Let It Grow campaign to help combat bullying and raise awareness.
3. Encourage open communication
Always keep the lines of communication open, talk with someone about what is going on. If you feel like you’ve been subject to bullying, share your experiences with someone who can help.
4. Learn to identify when you are being bullied
Bullying comes in many forms, shapes, and sizes. It is important to understand what bullying means and to make sure to know the difference between what is appropriate and what is not an appropriate behavior from other people. If someone is purposefully making you feel bad about yourself, tell someone.
5. Stand up for yourself
If you are being bullied, it is important to learn to advocate for yourself and know how to put a stop to it. Reach out to friends, family, and community members to stand beside you in your time of need. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
6. Speak up
If you are a parent, teacher, brother, sister, cousin, etc. and sees that someone is being bullied, speak up! Bullying is a violation of an individual’s rights and should not be taken for granted.
7. Do not ignore the situation
Someone may have the wrong idea that ignoring a situation will make it go away, but when it comes to bullying – it won’t. Bullying sometimes tends to get worse. When a bully is not receiving the attention he or she wants, they will do more to get it.
8. Don’t let their words get to you
It is important to remember when being bullied to always stay positive and think about all the great things you are good at. It is not you who has the problems, it is the bully. Embrace who you are, and never let anyone tell you you’re anything short of amazing.
9. Remember it is not about YOU
Never feel embarrassed or ashamed. The bully is the one with the problem, not the victim.
10. Find support from friends and family
Seek positive relations – teachers, coworkers, friends, family, or anyone who’s willing to lend an ear. Bottling up negative experiences is not healthy.
Together we can combat bullying and provide our amazing children with the safe and happy environment they deserve. Join us in our Let It Grow campaign to combat bullying and raise awareness!