In her article for the AAPC newsletter, Meg Utz, a young woman with autism, describes the bullying she endured in school. She had no idea that she was on the AU spectrum at the time, but speculates that her giftedness was a major trigger for bullies. Her siblings moved into programs for the gifted and despite being bullied themselves, fared much better in a stimulating environment. I would have to agree with her assessment, based on my experience with kids who share similar profiles. Now, at age 24, she is evaluating her past experiences and assessing the world around her. This author’s take-home message is that we live in a culture of bullying, from politics to the treatment of “various groups of people.” I could add that many school environments are also toxic at the hands of administrators and teachers who feel threatened by colleagues and parents.
Each one of us can make a difference by speaking up for victims, creating a safe environment for kids and adults to talk, and reining in our natural inclination to respond in kind when we feel mistreated. I know I have room to grow in this area. What about you?