The Victorian Department of Education and Training has stated that “Incidents of violence and aggressive behavior remain relatively rare in Victoria's more than 1,500 government schools”. This statement was made in response to an incident where an autistic boy was beaten with a spanner outside of a Melbourne school a few days ago. I would like to state that this assertion is not true as there were 1850 reported incidents in schools in 2017 which is approximately 5 reports a day. From this information, I have concluded that violence is common in Victorian schools as these figures do not include or reflect the many incidents that do not get reported. I am pleased to hear that something has been done about this incident, however, what about the thousand or so other young people who didn’t get this media attention. What has happened to them?
As an advocate for young people of different abilities, it is my job to not only share these stories but look out for those who didn’t receive the media attention that this unfortunate event received and bring to light the fact that not every incident has a happy ending. 90% of people on the autism spectrum are bullied and there are about 16000 people on the autism spectrum here in Victoria. The act of bullying can involve violent acts such as the one mentioned in the article in addition to verbal and cyber attacks. One of the most common causes of death for people on the autism spectrum is suicide and I know I bring these statistics up regularly, however, we need to realise this isn’t just one incident, this kind of thing happens every day and does have the potential to end someone’s life.
Being autistic can be difficult, we sometimes miss social cues like this young adult who didn’t flinch and stand back but went in to help and do the right thing and too often as in this case we get punished for this misunderstanding due to people not understanding us. This incident is an example of why we urgently need to educate people about autism and this is why I have been proudly offering free talks to schools and youth groups such as Scouts and Guides since I began this journey of creating a more accepting and inclusive world for people on the autism spectrum.
I would like to finish by stating that if any of the things I mentioned above distressed you in any way please be sure to talk to someone you trust as your wellbeing is very important. I would also like to ask everyone to please share this as wide as possible as we need to advocate for those whose stories didn’t end with a police investigation or someone being charged. We need to bring to light what happens every day and we need to educate people about what autism is and how to better understand us in the context of today’s world.
Autism Advocate, Blogger, Speaker
( link to original article ABC)
(Article with Pictures)