How can I help my child deal with bullies and survive independently in school?
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are often the subject of bullying in the school setting. Some experts believe that the percentage of bullying among children on the Autism spectrum is near one hundred percent. If asked, many parents will tell you that bullying is a major concern on a daily basis, which validates the numbers and percentages.
Have you ever been bullied? Imagine the discomfort it must cause a child who already struggles with anxiety and possibly, depression. The struggles brought on by bullying can easily lead to thoughts of suicide. It truly is a vicious cycle. As parents, it can be difficult to know the extent of discomfort the children are enduring. It can also be difficult to understand the full scope of emotional scarring and trauma. As the child’s main source of support, parents of children with Asperger’s Syndrome really need to be on top of their game. Here are some ideas that may help you.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Make it a point to talk about everyday life. Some of the best conversations happen while in the car. In this setting the child is not pressured by eye contact and is able to relax a bit. Not to mention that there is no way to escape!
- Make a point to stay connected with your child’s school administration. An occasional, friendly email to your child’s teacher, therapist, or special education teacher can create an opening for you later when you need intervention.
- If your child seems especially bothered by talking to you, perhaps talking to someone a little more impersonal will help. A school counselor or a private therapist can listen without the emotional charge of parenting. Rest assured that a professional counselor will act in the face of true danger.
Many schools now have an Anti-bullying policy in effect. While these policies will not eliminate all bullying, they do send a positive message, both within the school population as well as the community as a whole. Your child must know his school’s policy on bullying situations, including what to do if he is a victim. If there is no such policy at your child’s school, perhaps you can encourage the school to develop an anti-bullying policy.
I am currently writing more strategies to help children with Asperger’s when they’re being bullied, so watch out for this over the coming weeks. Also please add your thoughts, comments and experiences in the “Comments” box here on the blog.