Is your special difficult child bullied at all?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mazdamama, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. mazdamama

    mazdamama New Member

  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Thank you... I got sidetracked, reading it!
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's very good. The sad thing is, a lot of the strategies in there, especially the ones where you involve the school and the other students, will not work if the school is obstructive. We did a lot of the things suggested and yes, where they worked they did reduce the problems. But things like requesting a shadow for the playground, organising a safe place, alerting staff to signals from your child that they are in distress - these will not work if the school refuses to use them or actively blocks them, as in our case. At one point difficult child 3 was told, "Stay away from the bully," when the kids were all milling around together in the school hall and the bully was actively seeking out difficult child 3 to stick pins in him. You can't stay away from a bully who is actively out to get you. Staff should have kept either the bully, or difficult child 3, by their side until the situation was resolved.

    difficult child 3 was never believed. The bullies would support one another's stories and difficult child 3 was even told that he must have observed events incorrectly, which "is understandable, given you have autism." In other words, he was taught to distrust the evidence of his own experience, simply because the bully insisted "I never done it". Or I was told that my son was lying - when he was unable to invent a complex story that was not true. An autistic kid CAN lie, usually lies of "I didn't do it". But generally they cannot invent a complex lie such as "I did my homework, sir, but on the way to school a UFO came down and a lot of aliens got out and confiscated my homework." So similarly, when an autistic kid says, "I was running through the playground when Sam and Fred stuck their feet out and tripped me up. When I fell down they laughed and kicked me," he is unlikely to have merely tripped over his own laces while nobody else was near.

    A special needs kid is more vulnerable because they are less equipped to defend themselves; they are less likely to be believed; they are often more easily manipulated into not reporting it; they are generally far more vulnerable and an easy target.

    Some of you may recall that a few years ago my younger three kids were in a feature film, "The Black Balloon." It's a feature film with Toni Collette playing a mother with two teenage boys, one with autism. The story is about the angst of growing up with a profoundly handicapped brother. Luke Ford (Alex Connell in Mummy III) played the autistic teen. The character was non-verbal, aggressive, challenging. Rhys Wakefield played the 'normal' brother and teen supermodel Gemma Ward was Jackie, the developing love interest who has more compassion than the brother.
    The interesting thing - Rhys & Luke got into character and went out in public, in character, to test how well they could stay in character. Luke commented (the interview is on the DVD extras) that there were times when Rhys left him unattended (to go to the loo, or wherever) and he said it was then that the vultures would descend. He said he was horrified at how much it happened, and who it came from. Young people his own age, or even older, would deliberately goad him or taunt him to try to make him react. They did not know he was only an actor; if he had really been the character taunted like that, it would have turned ugly. They wrote this into the film at one point, where Luke's character ends up getting off his bus at his brother's high school, and the bullies get stuck in within seconds. It is a brilliant film, the script is at times funny, scary, distressing but also encouraging. It's raw and real, it's our lives. I took difficult child 3's speech pathologist and she loved it, said it should be mandatory viewing for SpEd staff and anyone working with autism. The ending brings Rhys's character to a point of love and acceptance of his brother as he is.

    I cried in the scenes where the bullies were causing problems. I also cried when Rhys's character was angry at what he saw as his life being ruined by his brother. But there are some great laughs too, which only those of us who have been there can really enjoy to the full.