Editor’s Note: This week’s blog post was submitted by Dawn Eberwein, Autism Society of North Carolina Bookstore Manager.
When we think of bullying, we often think of children in school, but bullying is everywhere. Bullies ridicule and harass their targets, and they can be physically abusive. Students with autism are particularly at risk of being bullied. Recent studies show that just under half of middle school and high school students with ASD have experienced bullying.
I have often wondered if child bullies become adult bullies. Recently, a segment of a national morning news show caught my attention. Jennifer Livingston and her husband, both news anchors from an affiliate station, were discussing an email that Jennifer had received from a viewer concerning her weight. Because Jennifer is overweight, the author of the email questioned the example the anchor woman was setting for young girls.
Jennifer candidly responded that she has had a lifelong struggle with her weight and that the remarks hit her hard. She said, “The cruel words point out what I already know. Attacks like this are not okay.” With the support of her husband, viewers, colleagues and employer, Jennifer confronted her bully with a powerful on-air statement. Jennifer was fortunate to have a network of support. Many times our children do not.
Often we hear from principals, teachers, and school administrators that bullying prevention programs and educational resources can make a difference. Rules and consequences that address bullying must be established and enforced by all. Bullies of all ages and their victims must be taught that hostile, demeaning behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
If you are concerned about bullying, please consider the following:
- Bullies rarely target a group. Find someone to support you.
- Be ready. Arm yourself with avoidance strategies to use when confronted by a bully.
- Bullies prefer to target someone that they feel they can manipulate. Practice standing up for yourself.
No Fishing Allowed: Reel in Bullying is an all-inclusive program offering strategies for students and information, ideas, and activities for teachers to address bullying. The program includes a Student Workbook, Teacher Manual, and DVD.
No Fishing Allowed is just one of many excellent resources on bullying that we stock at the ASNC Bookstore. Contact Dawn for personal assistance and recommendations at 919-865-5087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.