Do Autistic people deserve to be bullied?

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  1. profile image0
    Stevennix2001posted 10 years ago

    According to young turks, a young boy was teased and bullied by a bunch of kids.  The child being bullied was autistic, yet the parents of the bullies defended their children's actions saying that the kid deserved it.  What are your thoughts on this?

    By the way, here's a couple of links to know more information: … c-boy.html

    1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
      MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this


      I have/had three children on the spectrum (PDD-Nos, Asperger's, and "classic" autism) While they are all technically autism, they are very different conditions.

      The child in the video has Asperger's.  So I'm going to address that.

      Yes, it is on the spectrum, yes it is a disability. Yes, bullying children with disabilities is completely wrong. Bullying is wrong in general. Yes, these children needed disciplined and taught that.

      With that said, Asperger's is a tough condition for ADULTS that deal with children with Asperger's. They have difficulty dealing with the behaviors. One of the mothers in my support group once called it the "Asshole Syndrome". As a mom with a teenage male Aspie, I kinda have to agree.

      These are kids who are -in general- exceptionally bright with little to no social skills. When their feelings get hurt, sometimes for reasons no one gets but them, they can turn quite vindictive in return. In a way, they are often bullies themselves. There is no inner alarm that lets them know that what they are saying/doing is not acceptable, or is hurtful, or is going to piss someone off.

      Once those hormones start kicking (and we are talking about a young teenage boy here) Aspies can get irritable... so lash out inappropriately on a way more frequent way. In my son, that shows itself in a very visible disdain for anyone he sees as less intelligent (which is everybody his own age). Because he doesn't get social cues, he has no problem telling other kids that he is smarter than them and they are inferior.

      He gets cussed out a lot.

      Now, that being said, as a parent who loves this child and an adult who knows what is going on, it is sometimes all I can do to keep from slapping the lips off his face. (Not literally, we're not a corporal punishment family, but you get my point) How on Earth could we expect a group of 13 year old children to show the same restraint... day in and day out, when they don't understand?

      In addition, how could we expect adults -many of which don't understand what Aspergers is- to understand why THEIR kids should just stand back and take what is, honestly, bullying behavior from a kid who otherwise seems completely normal and intelligent.

      That's just my two cents.

      1. Silverspeeder profile image61
        Silverspeederposted 10 years agoin reply to this


        Well said MelissaBarret

        I have 2 members of the family with Asperger's although one has vastly improved since attending a school specially designed to help pupils with the syndrome he still has relapses into an unacceptable behavioural pattern, however he now realises after the event and talks freely about it.
        The two years he has attended the school have helped him to reintegrate into a normal state school where he is doing very well indeed.
        The parents of the other family member are trying to get him a place at the school as his behaviour has become increasingly difficult since reaching his teens.

      2. brutishspoon profile image65
        brutishspoonposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        I agree. As a HFA sufferer myself I can say that when I was bullied I could and at time would turn nasty. This gave the bullies more fuel and made them push my buttons more to see my reaction. At the time this was happening I was not diagnosed so no one knew what I had and why I did it. I remember lashing out at my cousins friend and his dad going to my uncle. So Aspies are often bullies themselves without knowing  It but that does not give anyone the right to bully them. No one should have to cope with bullying.

    2. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The parents' claim, if this story is true, is appalling.

      The answer to this question is obvious: NO---no one 'deserves' to be bullied.

      And bullying is NEVER justified.

  2. rabbit75 profile image84
    rabbit75posted 10 years ago

    I think this is a huge problem and if those parents believe that the kid should be bullied simply for being autistic then it's only fair to say that their kids "deserve" to be bullied for whatever differences they may have.

    Nobody deserves to be bullied, especially if it's for something one has absolutely no control over. To me, cowards bully other people, because they usually have some kind of power over the bullied. If these parents think it's honorable for their kids to be cowards then that's where the real problem lies.

    I was raised differently, and I was taught that it was wrong to do that. Unfortunately, I was also a bullied kid while growing up as well, so I know what it's like and just how damaging it can be. Hate begets hate. People who enjoy bringing pain to others are sick. It has nothing to do with being "politically correct" but seeing another person as a human being.

    1. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      +1  I couldn't agree with you more.  As a person who grew up being bullied myself, I think it's terrible to hear about crap like this happen to anyone for any reason.  I think anyone who thinks bullying is okay for any reason has serious mental issues if you ask me.

      1. profile image0
        mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this


        Anyone who thinks that bullying has any constructive purpose or that bullying is okay for any reason---including some kind of "initiation" into the real world or some kind of positive punishment for inappropriate conduct or some sort of socialization really needs to be understood as a problem to be solved.

        Bullying is a form of abuse and violence and nothing more. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of bullying knows this.

        1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
          MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Anyone who takes the idea of peer reaction and twists it into bullying is being hyper-vigilant. This is a problem that needs to be understood and solved. Bending the words of someone else because you see them as a threat to your pet cause is also a form of bullying.

          But I'm sure trying to shut up everyone who has a different view point than you is just fine. It's not bullying if YOU do it.

          1. profile image0
            mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this


  3. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 10 years ago

    It is easy to see things as black and white--but what do you mean by "bullying"--any negative social interaction?  You can't mandate that children be nice to each other unconditionally and all the time.

    1. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Please---we all know what constitutes bullying.

      I strongly doubt if anyone participating in this conversation thinks that (a) kids can be "nice" to each other all of the time or (b) that we need to police kids so that they are "nice" to each all of the time or (c) that bullying is just a matter of being "not-nice" to each other some of the time.

      I've been teaching 37 years (K through college). And I can and do mandate that students treat each other with respect and dignity and that they all work to create welcoming and friendly learning environments or suffer the prescribed consequences.


      Public and private schools (K through college)---all of them worth their weight in dirt anyway, have student conduct codes which make very clear what bullying is and how it will be dealt with.

      And I have yet to see a student conduct code that says "And all students shall be nice to each other."

      1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
        MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        So that code would stop an Aspie from being a bully or other kids from retaliating? Just curious...

        1. profile image0
          mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          According to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and its current implementation in education:

          In  terms of the K-12 environment:  If a student cannot behave appropriately in a classroom environment, then that student can be removed from the classroom and other appropriate educational accommodations---which do not deny the student what is considered a "appropriate education" can be made. The student, if unable to behave in an appropriate way (in any part of the school---classroom, lunchroom, etc.) and in terms of the student conduct code, could be subject to an "individualized instruction program" and such a program could result in removal of the student from a mainstream classroom in which he/she was not able to function appropriately in that environment.

          In terms of higher education (college and post-high school training): The ADA maintains a standard of "otherwise qualified" which includes appropriate institutional conduct. If a student (at the college level) cannot behave appropriately and in terms of the student conduct code, then he/she can be expelled from the college or university.

          In other words, Asberger's Syndrome and/or an autism spectrum disorder  (or any other developmental issue) are not excuses for inappropriate conduct in a traditional educational setting and can at the K-12 level result in being remanded to a more appropriate setting and at the college level to be expelled.

    2. MelissaBarrett profile image58
      MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      To be honest, peer reaction is a big part of the Asperger therapy. When they act inappropriately and others react negatively, it's a learning moment. Aspies don't get social clues emotionally, so they have to learn them logically. That's like learning logical empathy. They have to see the reactions to fit the pieces together.

      It sucks, but there it is.

      These kids went overboard with their reactions, but then again we don't know how long they were giving the subtler negative feedback with no improvement in the other boy's interactions.

      Edit: I forgot who I was talking to. Sorry smile

      1. profile image0
        mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Bullying never "cured' or treated anything---no matter what the cognitive or development position of the target of bullying.

        I do not believe that any credible psychologist or therapist or educator would embrace bullying as therapeutic.

        1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
          MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Did you read anything I actually wrote?

          1. profile image0
            mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            You are claiming that "peer reaction" is part of socialization training for children with autism spectrum disorders.

            You are claiming that "peer reaction" will somehow teach empathy---as though empathy is what is missing in terms of children and adults with Asberger's Syndrome.

            And you are claiming that peer reactions can lead to some sort of "fitting pieces together" for kids with Asberger's Syndrone.

            You then say that the bullies went "overboard" but carefully qualify your statement with "but then again we don't know how long they were giving subtler negative feedback" without getting their desired results.

            What you are doing is equating bullying and negative feedback and suggesting that frustration on the part of kids dealing with some kid with Asberger's Syndrome made them bully the kid.

            That is total crap.

            1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
              MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              Yes, I am indeed claiming that peer reaction is part of therapy for children with Aspergers... because it IS. Then I COMPARED learning social clues to learning empathy. Yes, lack of empathy IS a problem with kids with Aspergers. Yes peer reaction does help put the pieces together.  Do you actually know anyone with Aspergers? Have you ever been a part of the therapy process?

              Yes, I did say that the kids went overboard. We don't know the whole situation lasted, but we've got glimpses that the kid was at least calling the other kids names. That's bullying behavior in and of itself. These are 13 year old kids who act like 13 year old kids.

              I don't think you understand that socialization-and all that entails- is part of teaching Aspies how to live in the world. No one is going to be able to walk beside them all their lives protecting them from other people who are reacting NORMALLY to their behavior.

              If an adult Aspie insults someone, that person is going to be offended. There isn't going to be a teacher there to protect that Aspie from the consequences of that. You want to shelter, that's understandable and even commendable. Most parents of Aspies, however, would like their children to eventually be able to exist in the real world.

              1. profile image0
                mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                If you have decided that bullying---if done "right" and in terms of some larger therapy is a good thing and provides some sort of needed "negative feedback" to a child, then fine. 

                But, to tell you the truth, I find your comment that bullying is a NORMAL reaction to any developmental spectrum disorder to be offensive; deeply offensive. Almost as offensive as I personally find the use of the term "Aspie".

          2. profile image0
            mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            Legitimate therapies for Asberger's and Autism spectrum disorders include the following:

            (1) Social skills training for more effective interpersonal interactions.

            (2) Cognitive behavioral therapy to improve stress management relating to anxiety or explosive emotions and to cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines.

            (3) Medication, for coexisting conditions such as major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder.

            (4)  Occupational or physical therapy to assist with poor sensory processing and motor coordination.

            (5) Social communication intervention, which is specialized speech therapy to help with the pragmatics of the give and take of normal conversation.

            (6) Training and support of parents, particularly in behavioral techniques to use in the home.

            Where is effective bullying on this list?

            Where is peer pressure or peer negativity on this list?

            1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
              MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              Peer response would be under (1). Along with therapy to walk the child through the "whys" of that peer response.

              I could also list about 100 other tools used, right off the top of my head.  Of course I'm living it, not cutting and pasting it.

              1. profile image0
                mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                Item #1 refers to the student and the student working with a therapist. Peers are not therapists. Children---classmates, are not qualified nor should they or are they expected to provide any intervention.

                In fact, when parents ask that peers intervene and/or are part of some working therapeutic relationship with another child, they are informed that  students are not expected in any way or shape or form and cannot legally provide any interventions. This is true in the K through college environments and any deviation from this could result in legal action against the parents of the child and the school and any teacher who allows it to proceed.

                Do not presume that only you "live" this or understand this or deal with this on daily basis.

                If you think that bullying is therapeutic for your kids, then fine. But do  not suggest that there is any documented  legitimacy or any educational practice that endorses the notion that bullying provides the "negative feedback" that is in any way constructive.

                1. MelissaBarrett profile image58
                  MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                  It's very nice for you to suggest that bullying and peer reaction are the same thing.  You seem to be on a crusade, have at it. Once again, if you don't know anything about a topic, you probably shouldn't be discussing it.

                  In addition, you might want to visit any group that deals with Asperger's on a regular basis.There's a whole community you obviously have never been a part of, nor do you understand.  Aspie is a quite common term.   If you didn't spell Aspergers as "Asberger's" you might understand why.

                  Please, do me the favor of learning something besides cut and pasting before you start moralizing.

                  Have a good day.

                  1. profile image0
                    mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    And once again, if someone disagrees with you or has different experiences they are then, virtually automatically, wrong  and know nothing. This seems to be endemic to the Hubpages "experience".

                    You have a lot to learn about Autism spectrum disorders; a lot to learn about who and what may or may not be part of some community and how they may be part of that community.

                    You need to learn that your experience is NOT the definitive experience. No one's experience is a definitive experience of anything.

                    That said: You have NO idea who I am or what I am or what my experiences might or might not be. Less than zero.

                  2. profile image0
                    mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    And regarding the comfort of those on the autism spectrum and this term you've chosen to embrace ("Aspie"):

                    One of the most telling things about this word---something that was just said to me: "I don't like that word at all, but it is better than retard."

                    Nothing more needs to be said. If you like the word, the use it and apply it to your children. But, please do not claim that we all like it or apply it to ourselves or our children or spouses or parents or friends or students.

  4. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 10 years ago

    Yes, of course bullying is unacceptable.  But thinking a teacher can prevent behaviors on the bullying spectrum outside the classroom is unrealistic.  As is just assuming kids who bully are scum.  It has to be dealt with as a social problem not a moral sin.  That is what will bring the bullying child's parent out of defense mode and into engaging with the problem.

    Opening with 'do [any sort of person] deserve to be bullied' is a straw man.  The question is--how do we prevent it?  And strong moral condemnation of bullies may actually be counter-productive because it causes the kind of behavior shown by the parents here. People who bully need compassionate intervention.

    1. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The truth is that educators can and do prevent bullying outside of the classroom and in a variety of ways.

      Teachers are present in hallways, lunch rooms, at social events, and often outside of the buildings when students are arriving/leaving for the day.

      Anyone who has spent 1 day teaching knows that the job does not end at the classroom door---including at the college level.

      And, in fact, schools can and do offer anti-bullying training to all students---much of which is designed to speak directly to outside of school.

      1. psycheskinner profile image83
        psycheskinnerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah, I am sure my teachers thought the same despite the fact I was having the crap beaten out of me on the walk home. 

        You can try and effect behavior outside of direct supervision--you cannot have 100% effectiveness.

        1. profile image0
          mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Unfortunately, teachers generally can't walk students home or supervise what happens in local neighborhoods and at home.

          But, I do know that if bullying is persistent and occurs off of school grounds, the police can be informed and something can be done about it using law enforcement channels.

          And nothing is 100% effective, but efforts can be made---efforts that are successful, to deal with bullies and bullying.

  5. profile image55
    (Q)posted 10 years ago

    Shameless Frank Gallagher on Bullying:

  6. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago

    It doesn't seem like the situation was being managed at all and the parents who are "proud" of punching someone as a response to a verbal insult are not helping..


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