Lilo and Asperger's Bullying
By Betty Fokker on July 01, 2014
Today, when I was dropping my sweet little Lilo off at day camp, I overheard something that made my stomach cramp. She threw a frisbee to a boy and another boy, a “cool” sardonic tween, holler “nice throw Lilo” in the most sarcastic voice possible.
It was so sarcastic that even I got the inflection. (I asked Stitch and she confirmed that yes, the kid was being a dick.)
Lilo, however, didn’t “hear” the sarcasm thanks to Asperger Ears that have a hard time hearing the differences in voice inflections. Thus, she responded to the tween shitwad with, “Thanks Max! I’ve been practicing!” It was the most cheerful, open-hearted and friendly voice in the world. If she held up a sign saying “clueless potential bully-target” she couldn’t have sent a better message to the twatty toerag who had taunted her.
So I went over to the mean kid and pounded him into the ground like railway spike.
Well, that’s what I did in my heart anyway. My body calmly took Stitch to her camp to sign in, and then headed back to Camp Lilo. I reckoned there had been enough time so the bratty shit who mocked Lilo wouldn’t know I was talking to the councilors about him, so I approach the young fellow in charge.
“Young fellow in charge,” I said, “how much do you know about Asperger’s?” I then filled him in on the fact that Lilo was incredibly vulnerable to bullying because she wouldn’t even know for sure she was being picked on by her “friends”. I explained that he and the other councilors had to be extra careful about it. That normal-seeming kid interactions (sarcasm lives in the Tweens, y’all) could be targeting her in subtle ways that she has no defense against because she can’t “see” the arrows that are hitting her.
Part of me also yearned to tell Lilo to reply next time with, “Yeah, well my throw is still better than your face.” I additionally had to remind myself she was too young to tell people to suck her metaphorical dick.
I live in dread of the bullying that Lilo will almost certainly run into if she hangs with Muggles. All kids with Aspy’s get at least some bullying. If it becomes pervasive or severe I will homeschool her, but she is such a gregarious creature that I would like to give her an opportunity to adapt to the herd. I remind myself that 95+% of the kids she has met and played with have been nice to her and flexible about her weirdness. I am aware Muggles can torment their brethren Muggles, too. I hold on to the fact she is happy in camp and excited to go in the morning and has begged to have extended day.
Then I go throw up because I am terrified of her hurting even for a millisecond.
It also doesn’t make me feel better to know some kids are being raised by asshats who blame the Aspy kid for being bullied. For example, a boy was filmed being bullied and “the parents of the kids involved in the video are now standing up for their kids. The father of the teen who uploaded the video, Levi Weatherly, says Null is asking for it. "I would say three-fourths of this stuff he brings on himself and and probably a fourth of it is bullying that shouldn't be going on," Weatherly said.Since airing the news story on Monday, the news station has received over 100 comments— not in support of Null and his family—but in support of the bullies. Most of the comments blame Null for his disabilities:
Jamie Harrison wrote: "He called my nephew a nasty name and my nephew Cole cocked (sic) him in the mouth. I`m proud of my nephew for doing that."
Nate Goof wrote: "This kid has done things to get people mad that I think he could probably control."
People who spew that shit “provoke” me, but I betcha they’ll complain when I punch their noses thru the back of their skull.
I’m getting some books that might help down the line: Safety Skills for Asperger Women, A Quest for Social Skills for Students With Autism or Asperger’s (including role-play games), and The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules.
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