Autism and Bullying
Helping People Understand The World Of Autism
Did you know that 66% of children with autism are bullied. That's three times the rate of their siblings and peers.
With the incidence of autism currently at 1 in 88 children and rising, this is a serious issue that we must address.
While many schools have adopted anti bullying programs and actively encourage acceptance of every pupil, the distinctive behaviors exhibited by children with autism make them a target for bullies.
One problem is that traditionally autism awareness programs focus on what autism is and the specific behaviors associated with it. So when children see a peer stimming or covering their ears and rocking, they know it is because they have a "neurological disorder" and are "different", but that's as far as their knowledge goes.
Although it is useful for children to be taught the facts about autism, this kind of education does nothing to increase true understanding of, and empathy for, the individuals living with it.
If we are to address the issue of bullying among this growing sector of the population and promote real acceptance of individuals with autism, we need to move the focus of autism education toward an understanding of why people with autism act the way they do.
That's where 'Understanding My Friends With Autism' comes in.
The program helps 'neurotypical' children experience the kind of sensory processing problems that many children with autism have to deal with. It is these sensory issues that cause many of the unusual behaviors they exhibit. After completing the simulations within the program and discussing the emotions linked to the exercises, the participants leave with increased empathy for their peers with autism. When they understand why they act the way they do, they are less likely to make fun of them, or bully them and are more likely to include them in social activities.
'Understanding My Friends With Autism' is currently available in two formats: an instructor led experience which is only available in the Western PA area and a stand-alone video based version.
There are two separate editions of the electronic version:
DVD/Blu Ray Home Edition for families
Licensed version for use by schools and other organizations.
As the mother of a child with autism I am passionate about increasing empathy for our exceptional kids and, as such, I urge you to encourage your local school districts and community organizations to preview the program. It truly is a unique program that can be used to complement an existing anti-bullying program or as a stand alone autism awareness presentation. Interested parties can contact me for further information.
Thank you for your time and interest.