Saturday, April 4, 2015

Autism Acceptance Challenge 3: Stand Up to Bullies

Sometime during the month of April, you will find an opportunity to stand up to bullies. If you use social media, you will probably find lots of opportunities.

If you are not autistic, the next time you see an autistic person being told they are too high-functioning, don’t understand real autism, are being divisive, lacking empathy, blowing things out of proportion, Not LikeMy Child, being giraffe-lamped or walk-in-my-shoesed—say something.  Don’t grab the popcorn and watch, collect your people and call out the bully. If you are not autistic, there are people who will listen to you who will not listen to us. Do this and then comment here to tell me you did it and where (Facebook, Twitter, a blog, Tumblr, the physical world, whatever.)

Some of you do this all the time. Some of the people I consider true allies are named Ben, Liz, Martha, Steve and Sharon. There are plenty of others, but these are a few of the non-autistic people who have often shared my posts and added their own voices to the mix. Thank you.

If you are autistic, use the comments here to talk about standing up to bullies. How often do you do it? What does it cost you to do it or not to do it? Who are your allies? Who can you count on to stand with you? 

This is the third of 20 challenges this month. The person who completes the most will win a "Squawkers McCaw." 


  1. How often do you do it? As often as my energy allows when I don't feel as though I will be piled up on.
    What does it cost you to do it or not to do it? It costs me lots of energy and I feel drained for the rest of the day when I do. I feel irritated and perseverative when I don't. Who are your allies? My allies are a few family members and FB friends. Who can you count on to stand with you? My husband. -Jennifer V.

  2. Thanks, Jennifer! You are the first person to complete 3 challenges.

  3. I stand up to bullies whenever I feel like it's necessary for me I have lately tried to defend myself and explain myself as calmly as possible and if I succeed in doing so I feel confident about this but if I don't I tell myself that they are not worth the trouble

  4. I stand up to bullying whenever I can. And sometimes when I can't. It's a fine line.

    There's a local Facebook support group for autistics I belong to. They're a bit like my second family. We organize meets bi-weekly, and we're friends.

    The Facebook group also welcomes moms and educators. A few weeks a go, I realized there was some subtle bullying going on. When an autistic member talked about an issue that was making their life hard to cope with, three or four moms or educators would swoop in and start "giving advice".

    Thing is, this was not advice. They would tell the person in need of support what they were doing wrong, and how they should act, feel and think, usually in the general idea of conforming. The asker would sometimes protest, others simply disappear. Little by little, autistics in the group started ganging up with the "you should" people who were putting autistics down.

    I intervened a few times. Then some more. Scooped up a melting friend or two in private messages. Then I just had enough one day when an autistic member posted a rant about whiners, and that this wasn't a daycare, and obviously describing one specific member. Some commenters on the post tried to mitigate, but a few others chimed along with the nasty business. Big fat, outright bullying. I was so angry.

    I checked with the admin and posted a message about respect, presuming competence and how *not* to treat someone who needs to rant, vent, or just tell. Many friends in the group spoke up to support the move fully. The "you should" people were the only ones to argue, and boy did they get a logical spanking. The nasty post was removed, and I'm very glad to say, before my targeted friend saw it. It's been peaceful since.

    Since then, I've become an admin on the group and do the autie police. No one's bullying my friends, nuh-uh-uh!


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