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The autistic child (Asperger Syndrome, age: 12) is constantly mobbed by other children, both in school and on the way home. It includes calling him names, mocking, showing faces, pushing, threatening, taking off his things (such as a cap or gloves in winter), planting feet etc. It seems that the children have developed even a custom code of mobbing, with nuanced behaviors that are not considered offensive by others, such as using special faces or special words, so the poor boy is bullied even in front of adults (teachers). Bullying usually causes in him outbursts of aggression, which include cursing and throwing things (he has once thrown a chair out of a window at school). The teachers are already prejudiced against him, considering him to be aggressive and harsh-languaged.

What measures can be taken in that case to teach this child to control the aggression? It is quite obvious that the other kids are bullying him not for the sake of bullying, but because of his outbursts of aggression, which are very funny for them.

However, such repetitive mobbing has made very deep behavioral changes, and Asperger's makes things worse, because the answers from How to respond if my child is picked on by other children? are virtually useless in that case, for example building self-confidence relying on social background (friends) or trying to understand other people's motives.

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    I think the solution to your question "What measures can be taken in that case to learn this child to control the aggression?" is not going to solve the problem at its root. Maybe a controlled environment where teachers, children and all are instructed. But its probably hard with children who bully to instruct them and show respect instead... I wish the boy better times. – Mike de Klerk Aug 26 '13 at 11:43
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    The problem is the other kids, not the one with autism. This has to be handled by others...parents, teachers, other parents, the community, maybe police, etc. – DA01 Aug 26 '13 at 17:10
  • At this point the most immediate solution is most likely completely changing the environment, i.e. change school. It is very important that the new school understands his challenges and can handle them appropriately. This includes making bullying socially unacceptable in class. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jun 23 '14 at 21:29
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen Sorry to completely disagree on your advice here. Changing the environment for an autistic child is severe per se for them. Bullying will likely occur in the new environment too, because, in the end, the situation does not really change. – Chrglmgl Nov 25 '18 at 20:21
  • @Chrglmgl Thank you for your opinion. Feel free to write an answer. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Nov 25 '18 at 22:18
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Very difficult subject...

Tackle the Problem from the Inside

It's the most effective, and the point you have the most impact on. It sounds possible zen and overreaching, but the child need inner-strength, and, above all, inner-peace.

It's going to be very difficult, but someone would need to help the child to be more passive about the assaults and not show an emotional reaction towards them. Obviously difficult in the general case, and even harder here, I know.

And at the same time, the child will need to learn to resist them as non-aggressively as possible. It doesn't mean fighting back, it doesn't mean responding in kind, it means making it less easy.

It's very hard and sad to say, but it's about making it less fun and more difficult for the attackers.

Tackle the Externals Factors

I'd also think that if these things are routine enough and happen within your (or anyone's) sight, it's your responsibility to walk up to these kids and try to talk to them.

Use the Golden Rule

As mentioned by w00t in his answer, they do it for the sense of belonging to a group, so it's a difficult dynamic to break. But it's quite likely some of these kids have someone in their close or remote family circles that have disabilities and that they wouldn't them to be picked on. They also wouldn't want any of that to happen to these relatives or themselves, disabilities or not.

If you can get them to imagine what it would be like to live in the other child's shoes, if only for one day, it will it home. It won't be enough to beat group-effect in most cases, sadly, but it's a step in the right direction. Change one at a time.

Go to the Source

However, you can't handle other people's kids, and it means there are other people who need to get involved. Their parents, their teachers, or other educators or authoritative figures they look up to.

I'd even recommend to go as far as to talk to educators and collaborate with them to build sessions to raise awareness, if that's what it takes. You will turn some around, and these will then be helpful forces in preventing the more die-hard bullies from keeping at it. Organize a presentation at school on the topic. Invite kids to a home or bring someone with experience to talk about the issue - and make sure the kids actually talk to this person, not the other way around, as they'll be force to create a bond.

Maybe screen videos about the impacts of bullying on the life of people with these problems.

These usually don't let people flat out cold. They may pretend to laugh about it and snicker while in groups, but they'll definitely get something out of it.

Actions have Consequences

It's also probably a good thing to make them understand that their actions can have consequences. Not just for the kid, but for themselves, as the child and the parents could press charges, and while it's fair to assume the bullies are juvenile they will still have some degree of obvious discomfort in that process.

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His classmates are rewarded by the spectacle of his tantrums as well as the group feeling of having a common target.

Unless he can control the tantrums and ignore all taunts, I fear the only option is to change his environment to a more welcoming one. That may mean changing schools or getting ALL the parents to make sure their children behave.

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Talk to the school. They should have an anti-bullying policy. Get it and insist that they apply it in this case. Write to the teachers. Identify the specific hurtful behaviours being used and insist that they are stamped on. The only way to stop this is to make it clear to the bullies that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

Bullying is child abuse, no two ways about it. If the bullies were adults they would already be in prison, but because they are children its thought of as not important.

  • Here in California, we'd take bullying behavior seriously if you reported it. If we didn't, we'd be (rightly) sued out of existence. – Marc Sep 26 '16 at 1:59
  • Anit-bullying policies often have the opposite effect, of creating an environment where it is costly to the school to acknowledge bullying. – pojo-guy Mar 25 '18 at 21:50
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I have two children with autism and spent years in autism, LD, you name it special education classrooms as a parent volunteer. I also have one not autistic child. You son may need need a smaller learning environment, where his positive behaviors are reinforced to lessen his aggression. Kids can be cruel. If the environment isn't helping your child to eventually transition to adulthood-- and I mean to be as independent without us parents hovering--change schools. You may have to change states. i recommend California, Vermont, New York. Be honest about your child, that can be hard, I know. But once you are, accept, embrace and have a plan, you will surprise yourself. One more thing, check to see if your child can get on a bus or be transported to school--that would be safer. No one should endure being picked on going to and from school. What ever happened to the safety patrol?

  • Welcome to the site - nice first answer! Just one caveat: we are an international site so recommending a few specific US states might be helpful ony for some of our readers. To learn more, take the tour and browse the help center. – Stephie Sep 27 '16 at 20:10

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