Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yesthattoo.blogspot.com/post-specific-URL.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More Upset, More Targeted, Both?

Trigger warning: r-slur (censored), bullying

ThAutcast does seem to give me a decent bit of post fodder, which is cool. ThAutcast also links to me on occasion, so I guess we kind of interact. This time, the status that got me thinking is about bullying.
Why might someone on the spectrum be more upset by bullying then a non autistic peer?
There are many, many reasons that an Autistic victim of bullying could be or appear more upset by any given bullying incident. It's not exactly news that our body language can be hard for neurotypicals to read, and we could appear more or less upset than we really are. We could be already overloaded by the time the bullying happens, and so it could be the final straw for a major meltdown. It could be that we don't understand why we were targeted.
Or... maybe we seem more upset because we're reacting to more bullying and less support.
Maybe we're the favorite target, and that means we have more incidents of bullying to deal with. Maybe it's more often. Maybe it's more severe. Maybe the bullies are getting bolder and bolder as our teachers turn a blind eye. Maybe we're taking the bullies at their word when our neurotypical peers can detect what is exaggeration and what needs to be taken seriously. I know that all happened to me. 
I know that when I was in third grade, I was called a r***** on a weekly basis at least, sometimes more. I know that I was chased around the playground by people who insisted that they were going to take me captive and blow me up with a bomb. I believed them. But the teachers thought it was a game, and nothing was done. My terror was thought to be faked, I suppose? Or maybe they couldn't read my body language. There was a slanted ceiling in the classroom where I had language arts. I hit my head on it every day. (I might be dyspraxic on top of Autistic. Just saying.) My classmates made fun of me for it. My teachers made fun of me for it. They could have changed my seat to one of the ones where I couldn't hit my head. They didn't. 
Some of my friends have heard the story of the worst day with that. I... I lied a bit on it. The final book didn't fall off the bookshelf from my knocking the bookshelf. After watching me bump and crash into things and hit my head on the ceiling every day, there was one day when I crashed into more things than usual. Head to the ceiling, then elbow to the table as I knelt to get my books, back and head to the bottom of my chair, back to the bookshelf, elbow to the bookshelf. And then my teacher hit me (gently, but still) over the head with a book, while I was still on the ground, wincing from all the others. Yes, I hit my head on the ceiling again when I stood up a second time. He laughed. When I got back to the main class, I told my main teacher. She laughed too, just as she had all the times my own clumsiness had been the final cause. (Yes, this was a different classroom that about ten of us were in, which was about a third of the grade.)
I've since been told that it was an "advanced" class that I was in, but I don't know that my classmates knew that the people getting pulled out were supposed to be more advanced. They might have? It didn't stop them calling me r*****, either way. The fact that I got 100% on all my spelling tests for the first almost half the year didn't stop them either. The time that I was math challenge champion by default, when I was the only one who got it right? That didn't stop them either.
Nor did my teachers stop them.
Even when they started stepping on my feet, my teachers didn't do anything. Nothing. When I stepped on their feet back, finally, on the last day of school, I was the one who was spoken too. Not them, me. 
Or they imitated my jumping and flapping as they called me r*****, or they imitated the way that my hiccups made me jump, insisting all the while that it was on purpose. It wasn't. My hiccups still make me jump, and I've got about twice the mass now that I did then. 
Maybe we actually do get more upset, I could believe it. But maybe, just maybe, we're taking more bullying and having more people as sources of bullying (remember, the teachers are doing it too and turning a blind eye to the students!) If there is more bullying to react to, there can be more upset without it being more per amount of bullying. 

5 comments:

  1. ((I am so, so sorry.)) I wish none of this would have happened. I wish the effects of power and prejudice weren't happening to you still. Or to any child or person. We have to become aware of who holds the power and our own prejudices - and we have to stop these things.

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  2. I know, it happened to me too. everyday. every hour. everything i valued about myself was trashed. everything that was valued by teachers or my so called peers was something i couldn't do no matter how hard i tried. eventually i grew up and contrary to what they all said, family and school, i did quite well at times. and abysmally at anything requiring executive function. ultimately depression and complex ptsd caught up and clobbered me.

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  3. Yes, these types of things happened to me every day as well. Walking into public school with my oldest little girl was terrifying, even many years later. At times it still gets to me, and I have to keep my head down and touch the walls, and although I'm twice the size of those children, I'm still a bit scared of them.

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  4. I am getting ready to write a blog post on what I am calling "low-level bullying," which has occurred my entire life, so that it has a cumulative effect rather than being something I can really point to as having "all the hallmarks of bullying." A lot of what you write here is really important and helps me think about it. I myself have always tended to dismiss bullying of *me* because "other people have it worse." I am very sorry that happened to you and to everyone else here who is writing in.

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  5. All but a few of my teachers did anything to stop the horrific abuse my classmates put me through for my first nine years of education. Most of them insisted either that my abusers "had a crush on me" (because nothing says love like broken ribs?) or that it was all somehow my own fault.

    My experiences were, I'm told, much more extreme than typical bullying, but autistic kids do seem to be bullied much more than allistic kids.

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I reserve the right to delete for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things. As long as we stay within those ranges, discussion is AWESOME.