Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Bullying" erodes empathy (extract form conclusion to JCAF quarterly report)

We received a referral from the Refugee Aid Organisation to assist where a child with Autism is being bullied to the point of it becoming assault by children from a neighbouring school. The issues to be managed include awareness of what Autism is and the challenges this poses to the person with Autism as well as to those who need to manage them. Disability and chronic illness remain at the forefront of our strategies but this case, as in the introduction, highlighted how we use words that effect how we think and as a result act. It clearly raised the vulnerability, stigma and lack of understanding surrounding the disabled. It also emphasised how we sanitise this prejudice and resultant assault as an almost harmless juvenile form of taunting we call “bullying” where boys will be boys and cowboys don’t cry. The result of this label is a different approach to the cases that undermines their severity and as a result justifies the behaviour resulting in an ever increasing lack of empathy and appropriate consequences and a resultant disregard for the effect we have on others.

1 comment: