Can an Autistic Child Bully?
Posted by maxineowen
We are all aware that an Autistic child can be bullied. We have heard the horror stories of how a kid who was not on the Autism Spectrum bullied a child who was Autistic. The stories come in many forms, but they still have the power to touch our hearts and form a sense outrage within us.
The question I present to you is this: Can a child who is on the Autism Spectrum bully another Autistic child? If so, does he/she know what they are doing, and is it intentional?
This question comes to mind, because Cameron has been coming home from school for the past few weeks, telling me that two boys, Damian and Tristan, are making fun of him on the van. He has been pretty upset by their behavior.
These boys are in his class and are on the Autism Spectrum, though I am uncertain of which end of it they are on. They seem to be good boys; they simply have their own issues, as does Cameron.
I have questioned Cameron about what they say to him, but have not received a straight answer ’til today. Today was also the day that the van driver finally said something to me about it.
When Cameron got out of the van and walked toward the porch steps, the driver asked me to wait a minute. He wanted to say something to me, but he didn’t want Cameron to hear. I instructed Cameron to go inside.
The driver then told me that he was going to be separating Cameron from Damian. He said, “Those boys just don’t get along.”
I said, “Yes, Cameron has been telling me that Damian and Tristan have been bothering him.”
The driver agreed that there had been conflict between the three boys, but was unsure about what it entailed. He said, “I have to keep my eyes on the road, especially with these crazy gas truck drivers. I know something is happening with the boys, but I’m not sure what it is. I will be moving the two boys back and keeping Cameron here, in the front. He seems to like it up here.”
I replied that I thought it was a good idea. I said, “He has always had the front seat, so he will be comfortable with that.”
He said, “I don’t know how the other parents will feel about this, but we’ll just have to see.”
After he had gone, I checked Cameron’s backpack for his daily note. It stated that he’d had a good day. I then asked him about his day at school. He confirmed that it had been a good day at school.
My next question was, “How was the van ride home?”
He said, “Not good. Damian and Tristan were picking on me again.”
I asked him what they had been saying to him.
He answered, “They were singing the Row Row Row Your Boat song wrong.”
This did not concern me, so I asked him if they had done anything else that had bothered him.
He replied that they told him he stunk and that he was a chicken. I could picture this happening. I could see their amusement at his irritation; both reactions are almost in the realm of “Normal.”
The last thing he said on the matter was, “It was pretty bad.”
I sent an email to his teacher, explaining what was happening. I asked if the other parents could be made aware of this. I also mentioned that this was a possible teachable moment at school.
Whether the child is NT (Neurotypical – “Normal”), or the child is on the Spectrum, any behavior that makes another child uncomfortable needs to be addressed and hopefully changed for the better. If my child was doing something that was hurting another child’s feelings, I would sit him down and explain how what he was doing was making the other child feel. I would then instruct him to sincerely apologize and to stop the behavior. I hope that I can expect this reaction from the other parents.