Autism and bullying. I was bullied throughout secondary school. The bullying was persistent, emotional, and physical. It was incredibly hurtful, and it caused low self esteem.
I blamed myself. I thought it was because I was too much. My personality was difficult for people to tolerate. This was compounded by teachers who told me that it was me, that if I could be more easy going they would leave me alone. I was told that I should feel compassion for the bullies, that bullies were in pain too and that’s why they bully.
I bought this line for so many years. Then last year I saw Siena Castellon. Siena is an advocate for neurodiverse children. She is amazing. We ended up speaking at the same event. Her talk included some information about bullying, and her experiences of being bullied.
She spoke so bravely about autism and bullying, and how it was not OK, and not her fault. In that moment I realised. It was not my fault. It was very much not OK, and I have been scarred by it. This has begun the process for me of analysing what happened during that time, and unpicking the self criticism I still carry as a result of my experiences.
I made this video to add my voice to the conversation about how bullying is not OK. It is still happening in our schools, and it needs to be handled more effectively.
I made this video about the SEND crisis in our schools