Something is worrying me.
A friend has been messaging me about her son.
Her son also has a diagnosis of Autism.
Her son, in short, is being bullied because of his diagnosis.
Not because of how it makes him, how he portrays himself or who he is,
But because he has Autism.
The bullies have taken the diagnosis and are using it to namecall and degrade him.
My heart aches….
….not just for her son, but also for the bullies.
The bullies are children.
Children who haven’t been educated about Autism.
They are not Autism aware.
If you had asked me, 10 years ago, if I would have sat my children down and explained the basics of Autism to them, the answer probably would have been no.
I didn’t know better.
I had no experience of Autism, I didn’t know anyone who had it, I didn’t know my children would encounter it in school.
I didn’t realise that children with Autism even attended mainstream school.
What I realise now is that, not just Autism awareness, but disability awareness needs to be at the forefront of our childrens education.
Autism wasn’t talked about when I was younger.
It was there but we didn’t know about it, didn’t know it existed.
Now we live in a time when everybody knows, or knows of, a person with Autism.
But how can we educate our children if we are not aware ourselves?
It is really important that children are made aware of Autism.
They need to develop an understanding of the condition, no matter how basic, to ensure they can be as empathetic as they can be.
To be able to do this we need to be aware ourselves, we need to educate adults.
We need to raise awareness and acceptance to show that mocking and bullying others because of a diagnosis is not acceptable.
Infact mocking and bullying for any reason is not acceptable.
The ‘bullies’ are not mocking the boy because they know about Autism, they are mocking because they don’t understand it.
Bullies bully because they want to gain control of you. The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something unique to you.
(What is more unique than Autism?)
Autism becomes the target….the focus point.
Why? Because it is different. It is not the norm.
It is not portrayed as the idealistic way to grow up.
In short, it is misunderstood.
Bullying will never be stopped.
It can be reduced by ensuring people are educated about Autism.
Autism Awareness is so, so important.
Autism Awareness starts at home.
Acceptance is the next step.