Feminist Aspie

10 Downsides Kids With Autism Get From Bullying (because apparently it isn’t obvious…)

Autism Daily Newscast has published an article by an ABA practitioner entitled “Ten Perks Kids With Autism Get From Bullying”. Yep, really. That’s a thing that now exists. (I won’t link, but I like Wandering Autistic’s “honest version” if you want a quick summary…) So, in the interests of balance, and because it apparently isn’t obvious, here are just some of the negative effects bullying has on autistic children:

  1. The physical and emotional abuse. Honestly, the list could just end here. No ~important skill~ or ~valuable life lesson~ is worth that. Ever.
  2. You learn, very quickly, not to trust anyone. If you are your honest self, they might turn against you. If they seem friendly, they might be using you or laughing at you behind your back.
  3. You get the impression that everyone hates you and/or thinks you’re whatever the bullies call you, it becomes so ingrained that those thoughts begin automatically wherever you are and whoever you’re with. In other words, the foundations of an anxiety disorder.
  4. The realisation that the adults who are supposed to help you just agree with the bullies, even if they use more technically-polite words to express it. Everyone seems to be taking the same victim-blaming stance – if you could just “act normal” you wouldn’t get bullied, and because you won’t or can’t, you must deserve it.
  5. Low self-esteem – because if everyone constantly tells you that your way of being is wrong, you start to believe it, and you start to believe that it’s your fault for being who you are.
  6. All of the above is likely to be detrimental to engaging in social activity and making friends in the future.
  7. The fact that we have to justify not being abused by saying it’s detrimental to social skills, because our social skills (often used just as shorthand for “passing for neurotypical”) are seen as more important than our humanity.
  8. Other people deciding that everything’s fine because they can use your pain for their ~inspiration~ or ~teamwork~ or ~awareness~.
  9. The frustration of adults telling you “we can’t stop bullies” when they’re not even trying; treating bullying as if it were a natural disaster they are powerless to stop, when in fact it’s a product of a society they created. Where do you think bullies learn their prejudices from?
  10. Knowing that the bullying of people like you never totally goes away even in the adult world. We just stop calling it bullying and refer to it as what it is – ableism.
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