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15 Ways to Bully-Proof Your Aspie

Over 25% of public schools report that bullying among students occurs on a daily basis. Also, one in five middle school students with Aspergers (high-functioning autism) report being bullied in the past 3 months.

The good news is that, since bullying has made national headlines, schools and communities – and even celebrities – are taking a strong anti-bullying stance. Parents can do their part at home, too.

Bullying Facts:
  • Bullies - and victims of bullying - have difficulty adjusting to their environments, both socially and psychologically.
  • Bullies are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, and to be poorer students.
  • Bullying occurs most frequently from sixth to eighth grade, with little variation between urban, suburban, town and rural areas.
  • Females are more likely to be verbally or psychologically bullied.
  • Males are more likely to be physically bullied.
  • Males are more likely to be bullies - and victims of bullying - than females.
  • Students who are both bullies - and recipients of bullying - tend to experience social isolation.
  • Victims of bullying have greater difficulty making friends and are lonelier.

Here are 15 anti-bullying strategies to keep your Aspergers child from becoming a target – and to stop bullying that has already started:

1. Avoid the bully. There are some situations where bullying is worse because it is an ideal situation for a bully to go after their victim without any consequences. If there is no grown-up around, then he can bully without fear of getting caught. So, avoid these situations. For example, on the playground, stay where other kids can hear and where the playground monitor is around.

2. Buddy up for safety. Two or more friends standing at their lockers are less likely to be picked on than a youngster who is all alone. Remind your Aspie to use the buddy system when on the school bus, in the bathroom, or wherever bullies may lurk.

3. Confront the bully. Ask him why he is bullying you. Ask him what the problem is. Ask him to stop. Bullies are rarely asked to face the reality that they are being a bully, so make them face it.

4. Control your feelings. Bullies look for reactions, don’t give them one. Soon they will grow bored and move on.

5. Don’t bully back. It is good to say “stop it” – but don’t bully in return. You don’t want to be on the same level. Instead, tell someone that the bully is bullying you, and then do your best to ignore.

6. Don't try to fight the battle yourself. Sometimes talking to a bully's mom or dad can be constructive, but it's generally best to do so in a setting where a school official (e.g., a counselor) can mediate.

7. Make friends with one of the bigger guys in your school (some 8th graders, for example, may stand nearly 6 foot tall). Bullies are reluctant to go after someone who has backup. Bullies usually pick out the weakest person they can find, and there is strength in numbers. So, stop a bully by having a tall friend on hand most of the time.

8. Ignore bullies. A lot of what bullies do is for a reaction. They say or do things to see what you will do. If you want to stop a bully, just ignore their efforts, soon they will find someone else. Whether it is bullying online or in person, ignore, ignore, ignore.

9. Improve your self-esteem. Bullies usually pick on kids who have low self-esteem. They look for students who are weak, isolated, that feel alone, and have few friends. There is less chance of them being caught that way. Work on your self-esteem, and you won’t be picked on long.

10. Keep calm and carry on. If a bully strikes, a kid's best defense may be to remain calm, ignore hurtful remarks, tell the bully to stop, and simply walk away. Bullies thrive on hurting others. A youngster who isn't easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully's radar.

11. Put on a brave face. When you let a bully know that you are afraid of him, it is like giving him power. If you give him a little power, you will find that the bullying gets worse. So, put on a brave face, and never show your fear.

12. Remove the bait. If it's lunch money or gadgets that the school bully is after, you can help neutralize the situation by encouraging your Aspie to pack a lunch or go to school gadget-free.

13. Report the bullying. Bullies can’t bully for long if they are getting caught. The beginning of getting a bully to stop has to start with an authority figure. So, each time someone bullies you, tell a grown-up. If it happens at school, tell a counselor, a teacher, or the principal.

14. Stand up for yourself when it gets really bad. If a bully is physically harming you, ruining your reputation, or something else, then don’t put up with it. Instead, say the words like, “Stop” or “Don’t” and make sure they know you are done taking their bullying.

15. Talk about it. Talk about bullying with your children and have other family members share their experiences. If one of your children opens up about being bullied, praise him for being brave enough to discuss it and offer unconditional support. Consult with the school to learn its policies and find out how staff and teachers can address the situation.


Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group said...

8 people like this.
1 share

Darlene Robichaud this is so true! My son has Aspergers and he is bullied almost daily at school, and theres another boy in his class also with Aspergers whose also bullied! its just no right that these bullies know to what extent to which they can manipulate our children... its sad and breaks my heart having to send my boy to school!
9 hours ago · Like · 1

Betty Turner Macknight hi just reading what you had there , when did you find cout Austin had this cand how long ?
8 hours ago · Like

Michelle Cagle Thank you! We are really not alone! ♥ your advising!
7 hours ago · Like

Darlene Robichaud Nope definately not alone at all :( ♥
5 hours ago · Like

Lissa Bean Happened to my daughter in Kindergarten!!! It's starts early and these kids think they know more than you!! unbelievable how much my husband and i caught while we volunteered in the classroom during the year. Half the parents don't "believe" their kids can be bullies, but the reality is that YES they can!!! Too much has happened to my daughter that i said enough is enough. She is virtual schooled now and is waaaaay more happy!!! We do so much more than her public school offers too!!! :-)
5 hours ago · Like

Karren Carr So true we moved schools be

Anonymous said...

this is so true! My son has Aspergers and he is bullied almost daily at school, and theres another boy in his class also with Aspergers whose also bullied! its just no right that these bullies know to what extent to which they can manipulate our children... its sad and breaks my heart having to send my boy to school!

Anonymous said...

And unfortunately this is why so many of us are choosing to homeschool our children hoping that once they are beyond these adolescent years they will have matured and respect others.

Anonymous said...

well, i wasn't bullied in school, but i was teased alot by my friends for my gullibility and lack of understanding certain situations. however, i currently feel bullied my two of my coworkers. i haven't told them about my conditions, but i feel like they pick on me b/c i'm so eager to please. sometimes i don't understand why they get angry or frustrated with me. sometimes it just seems like they're trying to push me around. unfortunately, i think adults resort to passive/agressive bullying, which is alot harder to explain and resolve.

Anonymous said...

Here is another thing not often mentioned... sometimes teachers let it happen because they get annoyed dealing with our children's quirks and they turn a blind eye. Also, some teachers will find fault with every little thing our child does and yet let it slide with the other non-aspie kids. My son is in high school now, we're a military family and I can tell you most of the struggles we had was in public schools, not our overseas schools. But it was a long hard road. Just remember and KNOW your rights, because a lot of schools will push you into placing your child into special ed classes, we fought it as our son has a high iq, and the fact is, our children do far better learning socially in a classroom that is not special needs. The point is, they cannot force you into anything, it's a matter of holding your ground. He is in honors now and makes high grades, 10th grade. Things do get better and while there are always new challenges just hang in there. Half of what you worry over will get better. It takes them time to learn how to act in an acceptable way. I've learned I don't get embarassed easily anymore. Find the humor in your struggles and NEVER EVER tolerate bullying. An IEP is a must make sure you get your child an IEP, it's the best way to assert your child's rights in any school system and see they have an advocate. Lissa, same here, I caught kids jumping on my son at recess, even though it "wasn't happening'.
Yesterday at 4:58am · Like

Anonymous said...

PS with an IEP, usually it is bad on the school if the iep student is getting bullied. Even to this day, I will call his case worker at school if bullying happens. From time to time it does on the bus, and his case worker is right on it!

Anonymous said...

My son ( will be 9 march 1st), Sensory integration disorder, asperger's , nvld, and anxiety has been awful with me the past two to three weeks ( it has been longer but this has been every day now). He is only like this for me. As sson as he gets out of school it starts. He asks for something, if I need to say no or even not right now it's "you hate me" You are SO grumpy" you alwyas yell at me" I speak in a normal tone of voice, defiantely not yelling. When or if I try to point this out it's more YOU are grumpy. He can never see his part in the equation that he is the one yelling or actingout or losing control. It is all me. He won't do this with his dad ( who only sees him on satuday when I work and a bit on sunday because hubby works 3rd shift). His dad was recently diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and if he DID act this way way his dad his dad would throw things, slam doors and yell ( scream) so I try and usually do stay calm. The constant cyring, tantruming, irrational, crazy stuff is driving me crazy! I am clearly not yelling. Saying no is not being grump. I do not call him names, say mean things yet all evening it's all I hear. He has had a hard transistion to third grade ( new building and staff) but seemed to be getting better. His "friend" since kindergarten is moving in a month. We have a therapist ( I am ready to switch, my son just won't engage during sessionns) and he is on risperdal.25mg twice a day and 50 mg Zoloft once a day and meletonin at bedtime. He can be very sweet too but it is really wearing me down. He is obsessive and his latest is going to car dealers to look at cars and finding out the date cars were made (it's on the inside of the door). I have no idea what to do. I am told to be more strict but I don't just give him his way or the world when he does this. He doesn't use the computer or watch tv so not much to take away but I do get rid of toys and give timeouts, etc. My question is why is he continually turing this around to make ME the bad guy? I do not yell or anything yet he insists I am. I could whisper and he would tell meI am yelling. It is exhausting.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has a 504 and they seem to be taking her needs more seriously than other kids who don't have one... but at the same time I do get some indifference. My daughter has notebooks and notebooks of short stories she has written and a child stole her notebook on Friday and tore all her stories out. They left a note stating "if you want your stories back you will meet me at locker #.... during 7th period." I spoke to the school guidance counselor about it today and she said that it could just be that the person that left the note knows where her stories are... or something to that effect and that maybe it wasn't what I thought it was. I'm waiting to see what kind of resolution comes of this because I don't feel she is taking my concerns seriously at all. I'm in the process of formulating my thoughts for a direct letter to the school.

resarenee said...

Like many Aspie parent I too am frustrated. My son is 15 and has been the target of bullies for years. He's been told to "go play in traffic and to jump of a bridge". Kids are brutal to each other, but it seemed to be amplified where Christian is concerned. His worst bullying years were between the 6th and 8th grade. He had chairs pulled out from under him, drinks thrown on him and physically assaulted in gym class. I could see the toll that it was taking on my bright, beautiful boy. We got lip service from the school administrators, so I went to the school district and then to an IEP advocate. Needless to say, the school district has done a complete turn around. Now all students and teachers are educated on autism. Christian is still occassionaly bullied, but now other students are his advocates and turn in the bullies.

Lisa Cunningham said...

My son is 13 yr Aspergers, we have lived with Aspergers, autism and PDD our entire life and through out the family tree, very genetic. I am PDD nos. My son is provoked everyday, kids touch him, kick him say horrible things to him and then they blame my son when he reacts to it. Sometimes he just erupts and other times he asks them to stop and when they don't, so he hits them. Of course my son gets suspended and now the teachers want to expel him as they cant get him to act as a neuro-typical, but they gladly take the funding for an A-typical. They put him in these situations, do not monitor/supervise the other kids and allow for him to be taunted everyday. We told him to swing away if they harass him physically or verbally.Yes he will get suspended or expelled but he is so much happier when he does not have to bottle it up and just take it. Today we think he broke a boys nose after that boy provoked by kicking him in the back, I have to say that my son's gross motor skills are improving as he hit the mark today. I went through the same thing 30 years ago at school and nothing has changed in the school system, teachers are overpaid and ignorant against Autism Spectrum Disorders, they thinks its a disease and that it can be cured. Idiots the lot. That's the only way to deal with neuro-typicals, there a breed of their own.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to hear my child is not the only one being bullied. He is 9 now and we have been struggling with this since preschool. I am headed in to the school office tomorrow for an incident that occured last week. I am going in prepared though with black and white copies of the no bullying policy, the contact numbers for the american civil liberties union, the head guru for our school districts IEP/504 name and #, and our states dept. of education contact information as well. I will not have my son coming home begging to be home schooled "to avoid the bullies" EVER again!

Amy said...

Has anyone else been in a situation where the bullying is coming from the teacher and administration? We went through the whole process of attempting to move our children to another school and ended up moving to get our Aspie son into a school away from adults who had nothing better to do but bully our child and us. We are in a much better place now, but I am SO glad to have these ideas because, although middle school is still a few years away, now is the time to start implementing some of these ideas before more bullying actually happens. They might come in handy when my non-Aspie child starts middle school.

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