When bullying really isnt

A friend of mine turned me on to this site last night.  I haven’t been through it all and it is still pretty new but it has some very interesting stuff.  It is also very warm and caring and a little less clinical.  It is designed for anyone who has a loved one with autism. 

http://www.hopeezinetoday.com/

So I was skimming through and found this article http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517100417.htm  It connects the relations between kids who have combined autism and ADHD and the rise in the perception of bullying. I say perception because on the outside it looks like these kids (including J) are being bullies, being mean and aggressive ON PURPOSE.  But for the most part they likely aren’t doing these out of spite, but from misunderstandings.

In my personal experience with J this is what I have observed.  Kids start some kind of game, usually a chasing tagging game.  BUT when they are done playing J’s autism prevents him from seeing the changes in facial expressions and body language.  He continues to play, rough, and they are done and get mad at him.  I noticed this at an early age.  I had to rule out all rough housing at church because he just had no stopping mechanism.  He’d see the big kids wrestle and want to get in on it and then just wouldn’t know where playing ended and hurting began. 

After reading the article it seems to me that once his body gets going and the ADHD side kicks in, his brain can’t compute the changes in their attitudes.  which then makes everyone think he is being mean.  which leads to them not wanting to play again next time.  Which leads to him being upset with them for not being kind and lashing out, which makes them dislike him even more.  LUCKILY, his anti anxiety/anti aggression meds have been upped and he is doing great.  He has gone to bible class on his own 2 times in a row successfully without leaving OR crying.  Today while playing with the kids he got a little rough, but when asked to stop he did.  There is this one little girl his age at church and she is the main source of his trouble.  She is very over the top and gets upset, but usually she instigates it.  Her mom is very understanding of J and of her daughter’s own behavior so she tells K that if she doesn’t want to play then she needs to sit down.  But that if she gets up and runs, J WILL chase her. 

Last week I went to surprise J at school and arrived during outdoor playtime.  It was great to see him playing with all of his school friends.  He stopped to say hi to me and then went right back to playing.  His teachers said that this other little boy T who is also autistic has really taken a liking to J.  She has had him in class for 3 years and he has never reached out to any other kids and J has only been there for a few weeks and seems to be his best friend.  Although the love is a little one-sided at the moment, J does play with T when it is on his terms.

So after all the tears I’ve shed from other neurtypical kids not liking him and not wanting to play with him, it was heart warming to see someone adore him for who he is.

I am seriously considering starting a meetup playgroup for autism spectrum disorder families.  After seeing J with T and reading about the bonds that ASD kids have with each other, I think it would be good for him to be around other kids and parents who won’t judge him or me.  I know that there are other support groups here in Tucson that do have a few playgroups, but I really like the meetup.com platform.  I like the ease of planning and having the online calendar and message board.  There are plenty of other forums for online chatting about problems, but I like the real life aspect as well.  So after the new year that will be my new project.  I will still be running my military mammaz group, and I have some great ideas for that as well.  Little J really needs the interaction that he gets with that group, and J needs to be exposed to neurotypical kids in small doses, plus I have made some wonderful friends.

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One comment on “When bullying really isnt

  1. Hi! I followed you back from the comment you left on my blog. This post really speaks to some of the issues we are currently having at school. The impression is that the behavior is deliberate, motivated, mean-spirited, and it is so hard to break that mindset–even among some trained professionals. It is, and always has been, my son’s biggest challenge. And it is the piece the school (we’re in an inclusion classroom at the public elementary school) has the hardest time accepting.

    Thanks for pointing to that new website. I’m off to check it out. Good luck with the new blog (I’ve tried to keep under the radar as well!). Can’t wait to read more!

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