More Anti-bullying Talk: What to Do Now?

The U.S. Department of Education recently held its first summit on bullying prevention in Washington, D.C., as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to coordinate the federal government’s strategies to end bullying.  I like the idea of better coordination and collaboration, but do hope this will be more effective than the National Director of Intelligence—remember the position that is supposed to improve coordination/collaboration between our “intelligence” agencies?  The position which has had 3+ people rotate through it, with little real power or money? 

Well, there will be some big names at this summit: U.S. Surgeon General, Assistant Education Secretary for Civil Rights, Turner Broadcasting, and Facebook representatives.  They’ve established some good websites (Find Youth Info, Stop Bullying Now, and Facebook Safety) with helpful resources.  The tip sheets look good, with practical advice like needing a whole school approach to altering the social environment; most importantly for kids on the spectrum, increasing supervision in areas where bullying often occurs: unstructured/unsupervised places.

Let’s hope this all translates into some action, with recommendations on evidence-based interventions/programs that schools can afford, that parents can support, and that truly protect our children.   

P.S.  The Autism Bookstore has several books to help with bullying issues.  Here are just a few:

Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions

Gray’s Guide to Bullying

Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying

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6 Responses

  1. Maybe we can get some legislation on protecting our kids from adult bullies too. Before the adults start instructing children on how to treat people with autism, maybe they should walk the walk and not toss our kids in dark closets for hours on end? Shame them in front of classmates? Pin them on the floor and tie them to a chair? Just a thought.

    • …which is what the recent law (School Violence Prevention Act) is supposed to help prevent. It does specify that anyone–including students or adults–should report any incident of bullying. I know that it is but a drop in the bucket, but at least it’s a start. For parents of children who are preverbal, it is especially terrifying. For parents of children who are extremely articulate, it is STILL terrifying–because my son does not remember or think it relevant to tell me ANYTHING about his day (not even the day that a classmate had an unstoppable nosebleed resulting in a 911 call). Regardless of where our children lie on the spectrum, we share common difficulties. A person’s IQ does not make their social or functional difficulties disappear. People on the spectrum need to unite, not divide (and their parents, too).

      • ??? Not sure what I said that might have been construed as divisive. I was including all kids with disabilities when I was worrying aloud about their treatment by adults. I have heard some horrible stories about treatment of mainstreamed verbal children by the very adults that we trust to teach them lovingly. When I used the example “shame them in front of classmates” I was thinking in particular about the young boy that was voted out of his class or another example my NT daughter told me about her classmate that made my jaw drop. My comment had nothing to do with where children or adults fall on the autism spectrum.

      • I’m sorry–I didn’t AT ALL mean that your comments were divisive! I meant that sometimes parents of children who have different levels of autism don’t work together–regardless of a child’s functioning level, if they have any autism spectrum disorder at all, they have a disability. So, I was just saying that we parents need to work together to protect all children in all classrooms.

  2. Or pull their fingers off and abuse them on a school bus?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-stagliano/post_701_b_685954.html

    • Oh, that does so much more than break my heart…it makes me furious and scared and terrified! How can this happen, what possesses a person to commit such a heinous crime against an unprotected individual?!?

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