I have a request for all parents reading this…

Teach your child to be kind to others especially those with special needs.

Those with special needs are twice as likely to be bullied compared to their nondisabled peers .

Growing up with autism I would befriend bullies because even though I was receiving negative attention it was some form of attention. I also had a challenge understanding sarcasm. It made me an easy target and, even though I wouldn’t understand it at the time, was something I truly didn’t need. I needed genuine friends who had similiar key interests. Maybe if I had less people who would do these things to me I would have had more opportunities to form those friendships.

I was inspired to write this after reading an autism mom’s post about a situation that happened to her autistic son at the park where he was treated cruelly by his peers. It reminds me that this is not an isolated incident but something that happens far too often in our community.

It doesn’t stop with autism though. So many individuals I’ve interviewed for my self-advocate video series have mentioned the harms of some key interactions.

I know of individuals with Down Syndrome who have been mocked in the past for how they look.

I know those with Social Communication Disorder who have been bullied for them keeping to themselves and being the ‘quiet kid.’

I know those with Cerebral Palsy who’ve been made fun of for how they walk.

I could go on and on.

Pledge to practice empathy, celebrate differences and educate others to do the same. Thank you.

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My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.