When people tell me that bullying isn’t ‘that big of a deal’ I can’t help but remember those days…
I can remember some of my first moments being bullied like it was yesterday…
I was the only kid with autism in my classroom.
I tended to keep to myself.
I tended to rub my hands together to come back to a place of normalcy when I was having sensory issues.
I tended to be the only one not laughing at jokes because I didn’t get them.
I tended to be looked at as the outsider.
And I was bullied for it.
Growing up doctors considered myself to have severe autism when I was officially diagnosed in 1992. Later on when I was starting grammar school and beginning to speak in full sentences bullying began. When it did I would try to ‘mask’ some of my behaviors so I could fit in with the crowd. It was exhausting and after a while to do good in school which was one of my main goals I realized doing that was impossible.
Even if kids wouldn’t bully me I would remember the stares and comments people would make when they would see my hands move around. Twirling and speaking about key interests for long periods of time were also struggles in making connections with others. I would later befriend bullies because even though it was negative attention it was some form of attention.
We all need people in our lives who get us. I was lucky later in high school/college to be bullied very rarely and today I’m a EdD graduate and public speaker who travels to talk about topics like bullying & autism to help the future generations of people like me who may be facing similar challenges.
One message I’d like to leave you all is that if you are a parent, family member or educator reading this, please teach your children and students to be kind. Bullying is a big deal and it needs to be addressed.
Kerry Magro, an anti-bullying activist, professional speaker, best-selling author & autism entertainment consultant who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help us continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.
Also, consider having Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!