AutismBC denounces all forms of bullying in all environments, regardless of age, ability, gender identity, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. We believe in inclusivity and acceptance of our ENTIRE community.
As we reach Pink Shirt Day, we at AutismBC would like to stand in support of everyone in our community who speaks up against bullying and takes action to protect those most vulnerable. In British Columbia, 1 in 5 children experiences bullying (Pink Shirt Day, 2021). We all need to work together to put an end to bullying. As adults, that means being proactive for our children and taking action on their behalf. Let’s all try to understand the experiences of others and to respond with empathy and compassion.
“Honour yourself. Trust your voice and don’t underestimate the power that you have been given. We’ve been born with a purpose and a plan…We’re not here by accident and we’ve got gifts and abilities to offer.” – Suzanne Perreault, AutismBC Talks April 2020
We’ve heard from our members time and time again that they experience bullying in the school system and struggle to see changes. We believe that educators and administrators are vital tools in minimizing bullying. We encourage all educators and administrators to take proactive responsibility in seeking resources and in educating themselves on autism and neurodiversity to better support students with diverse abilities. When a student exhibits behaviour changes, such as meltdowns, non-compliance or withdrawals, get to their hearts (Perreault, 2020) and seek to understand their struggles and triggers behind those actions. When we can ask questions rather than label and judge, we build trust and can create a supportive environment so that students are not left alone to navigate help when bullying happens.
If you are an adult struggling with bullying in the workplace, please reach out to your Human Resources Department, the BC Human Rights Tribunal, or an organization like CLAS (Community Legal Assistance Society). If you need additional support, please reach out to us and we can work together to help you. Employers are also crucial in creating inclusive work environments and practices to ensure that all employees get the support, understanding, and accommodations they need and deserve.