We suspect our son with #Autism is being bullied at school and here’s how we’re handling it

We’ve spent a bit of time speaking with Elliott this weekend. It would be fair to say this has been a rough couple of days for him. It’s pretty obvious that something is upsetting him but getting to the bottom of what that is can be tricky. Elliott will list things that bother him but they aren’t necessarily what’s bothering him. Does that make sense?

Long story short, while we were discussing going to the after school program in December, Elliott mentioned that he’s getting picked on at school.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard this but it’s really the first time that I’m beginning to suspect that there’s more going on than we are aware of. Elliott’s a really sensitive kid and so he can take an otherwise innocuous comment and feel as though he’s being teased or made fun of. We see that at home all the time and that makes it difficult to sorta weed through all this. 

We’ve spoken to the school in the past and everything has always checked out. That being said, something’s still going on and whether or not it’s actually bullying, it’s upsetting him.

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Here’s what we’re going to do .textgram

First of all, we’re going to take a deep breath and put aside the initial feelings of wanting to crush the shit out of whoever might be picking on our son. Cooler heads will prevail and going in half cocked, won’t do anyone any good.

The first step will be to make direct, face to face contact with his teacher and do so in a nonaggressive fashion. I’m aware that bullying can sometimes fly under the teacher’s radar. We will bring up names of anyone we’ve heard things about and find out if they are seeing any problems between Elliott and these kids. 

Based on what we learn from this, our next move will vary. 

I’m guessing that we are going to hear something like Mr. Gorski, we haven’t noticed any problems. To which I’ll respond with something like, we would really appreciate it if you would please keep a close eye on the situation and let us know if anything changes.

After this, we will meet with the principal and make sure he’s aware of the concern as well. This will help to ensure that we don’t get brushed aside or our concerns lost in the shuffle.

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This school is a charter school for kids with Autism and ADHD. If Elliott is being teased or picked on, it may very well be the result of someone not understanding that Elliott is upset by their actions or words. I don’t believe there are any criminal masterminds in his class that are plotting to make Elliott’s life at school a living Hell. I don’t mean any disrespect by that either, it’s just the reality of the situation.

The last step before we follow up with the school staff later in the week will be to let Elliott know that we’ve spoken to the school and they are going to be keeping an eye on the situation. 

The last thing we want to do is make anything worse by making a scene at the school or freaking out on his teachers. 

The idea is to make sure Elliott knows that we have his back. We bring this to the school’s attention and figure out what’s actually going on. If it’s a matter of Elliott misunderstanding or misinterpreting something, we can work on that with him. If he is actually being targeted, then we will put a swift end to that because we have a zero tolerance policy for bullying in this family.

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You may remember back in the Lost and Tired days before Gavin was doing as well as he is now, he was picking on someone at school. When we overheard Gavin bragging about it, we dragged his ass into the school office and turned him in so it would stop.

We don’t mess around with this. Lizze and I will not tolerate our kids being bullied or being a bully to someone else. 

At this point, I feel like that’s a pretty reasonable approach to a situation we don’t know enough about.

Have you had to deal with anything like this before? How did you handle it and did it help or make things worse?




  1. JR

    Any thought given to self-advocacy? Have you asked Elliot how *he* thinks the situation should be handled? Have you given him any guidance as to how he could potentially resolve the situation himself? The idea of you going to talk to the teacher is good, but it would be helpful to do so with the goal of making her aware of a potential situation so that she can potentially help guide Elliot in advocating for himself (by addressing the bully himself or asking for help from the teacher himself).
    It’s great that he was able to come to you and give you at least some idea that there’s a problem at school. But if you march in there and “fix” the problem for him, without first at least trying to see if you can teach him to take care of it himself, in the controlled environment that school provides (with the teacher and staff aware that he’s going to be making these attempts to resolve it), you’ll lose an opportunity for Elliot to learn important coping skills.

    (Or you could just go with your first instinct and go down there and beat the kid into a bloody pulp – do I even have to say I’m kidding?)

  2. Kim Gebhardt

    ” while we were discussing going to the after school program in December, Elliott mentioned that he’s getting picked on at school.”

    That might be your answer right there. This could be Elliott’s way of getting out of going to the after school program. He didn’t want to go this month and you and Lizze made him finish, so he could be trying to get out of next month. That he mentioned being bullied while you were discussing the plan for December is telling to me. If bullying were an issue, why not bring it up at just about any other time? The four of you just spent the entire holiday weekend home together- he could have mentioned it many times over.

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