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Friday, July 11, 2014

Is It Bullying If the Victim Doesn't Know He's Being Bullied?

So my 12yo Aspie went to "sleepaway" camp this week. I won't say which organization, but it was not a special needs camp. First time away from home ever. I was really concerned about bullying. Between the Asperger's and his OCD, he has a ton of behaviors that would be really easy to make fun of.

When we picked him up, he went on and on and on about all the things he did, even pulling out his schedule so he wouldn't miss anything, and giving us a detailed report of every hour of every day, Monday through Friday. But nothing at all negative, except, "We didn't get to go canoeing because it rained."

Fabulous! I was so relieved, I almost sat through his detailed explanation of his cabin and who slept in which bunk and where each of those bunks was located in relation to the others. Almost. I finally had to cut him off, and he happily trotted down the hall to fill his little brother in on all the exciting bunk details.

Then I got a text from a friend whose son was in the cabin with my son. She started out asking how Jack had enjoyed camp. After a bit, it turned out that her son (I'll call him "Bill") had gotten into a fight the last night of camp. One kid was trying to cut another kid, and Bill stepped in. A fight ensued, and adults stepped in.

I mentioned that I had been really worried that Jack would be bullied, but "if he was, he doesn't realize it. As far as he knows, he got along with everyone." Then she says that Bill told her that the bully had been bothering Jack. He apparently has an attitude problem and had been bothering everyone. I have no idea why he was allowed to stay, because we were told over and over that they had a strict code of conduct and infractions would mean being sent home.

Regardless, I don't know exactly what was said or done, but Jack was apparently oblivious. Which, I suppose, is better than being hurt. But I'm kind of torn. I'm not sure whether to talk to him and try to suss out whether he caught on to the jerk's bad behavior, or just let it go. Or maybe we should just have a generic discussion about what to do when you encounter "mean kids"?

Update (7/11):
We had this conversation:
Me: So...did everyone in your cabin get along okay?
Jack: Yeah.
Me: No getting on each others' nerves after five days?
Jack: Well, yeah, there was a little of that, but it was all good.

So I'm going to assume that he was oblivious to the bullying, which means I just need to continue with the mini-talks about what to do on the occasions he does notice something amiss.

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