Back in middle school, in my science class, a peer of mine suffering from autism was often picked on for simply acting differently than other children. He was often called retarded, stupid, and had his school supplies stolen from his desk because the bullies said he was “too retarded” to notice.
When my autistic classmate would speak up for himself he would “overreact” to the situation and scream, and the bullies would just laugh and enjoy the situation even more when they saw that he was suffering from their humiliation. The teacher, lecturing in the front of the class, was oblivious to their bullying.
Every day, thousands of people with disabilities face daily challenges. Not only due to their disability, but because of the discrimination they face.
Teenagers with disabilities such as physical, development, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities are frequently harassed and bullied at school. While 25% of general students report getting bullied, 60% of students with disabilities report getting bullied, according to Disability Scoop, a website on developmental disabilities. This is a huge and notable difference that needs to be put to an end.
If we learn to treat people with disabilities the same, they will prove to themselves and others, that they can do everything we can, but perhaps in a different way.
If people learn to include them in simple, everyday activities, this discrimination against those with disabilities will soon vanish. Such as acting kind to them, and trying to become friends with them besides their different social abilities.
Venice High School use to have a Best Buddies club where autistic children would hang out with able children once a week. Perhaps it is time to bring back the club.