Bullying

‘Retarded robot!’ I was pushed down a flight of stairs. Living with autism is HARD in the real world.’: Autistic woman overcomes bullying, ‘we can do anything we want, we just try 10x harder’

“Living with autism is like living in 2 different worlds. In the ‘disability world,’ people don’t judge you. You feel safe. In the ‘real world,’ all comfort is lost. I wasn’t invited to sleepovers or birthday parties. No one wanted to sit with me at lunch. I’ve had pencils, food, rubber bands thrown at me. But we are people, too. Just like everybody else. And we can do anything we set our mind to.”

‘Oh, it’s just my skin.’ I’d stare in the mirror, worrying how to look as pretty as the other girls.’: Young woman born with vitiligo skin condition develops eating disorder to look as good as her peers, finally learns ‘recovery is worth it’

“‘As soon as someone notices something is wrong, I will stop.’ I was waiting for the attention. Girls would run away from me because they did not want to ‘catch my disease.’ Every day, while throwing away my lunch in school, or doing sit-ups in my bedroom, I started to feel proud. I was 13, and weighed 60 pounds. Your passions cannot be accomplished if you are struggling yourself.”

‘My family said, ‘I told you so.’ Why didn’t I notice it? I wanted to pretend it never happened.’: Mom first denies son’s autism diagnosis, now advocates for ‘acceptance, inclusion’

“We vacuum when he’s not home, use the blender in the garage and I can’t blow dry my hair unless he’s asleep. Once he sees the appliance, it’s an instant tantrum. Truth be told, I’m scared. Scared he’ll be bullied for being different. I’m so, so, terrified of that. ‘Is he going to live a ‘normal’ life? Will he get married, have kids?’ I still feel broken at times.”

‘You will never become anything,’ my doctor said. I was going stone-cold deaf. ‘What now?’: Woman loses hearing to infection, vows ‘deafness will not define me’

“As a young girl, there were signs. I literally danced to my own beat, mispronounced words. I spent years humiliated, called to stand up in front of classmates and speak the language I couldn’t hear. On one test in particular, I completely bombed the oral exam, tears streaming down. ‘I thought you didn’t want to be labeled as different,’ my teacher said. That was the final straw.”

‘All babies born premature are floppy, aren’t they? We never noticed looking at our beautiful baby boy.’: After first child is ‘born sleeping,’ mom has son with Down syndrome, he’s the ‘life of the party’

“We were at a party. A little boy came up to me. ‘Why isn’t Riley talking to me? I’m asking him questions and he won’t answer me.’ Our son has Down syndrome. After learning Riley will be going to mainstream school, one parent asked, ‘How will he be able to get along with other children?’ It was like BANG. He is his own character, the same as every child.”

‘His hands are connected at his chest.’ We were in disbelief. He must have been making a mistake.’: Mom says son born with limb difference is ‘perfect’ despite differences, ‘We believe in miracles’ for his future

“My first glimpse of him was from a picture my husband had taken. His hands were at his chest, his legs were curled up tightly in a little yoga pose. He had 10 sweet fingers and toes, and I was in love. We were both in shock, the panic over doing what was best for him was all I could think about. The nurse put him on my chest. He was so tiny, and beautiful, despite looking ‘different.'”

‘You know mom, teachers should never be mean like that. It’s so bad.’: Mom shocked by young son’s ‘super tender heart’ after revealing her teacher bullied her

“I said, ‘You’re so lucky to have such a nice teacher. When I was in third grade my teacher didn’t like me. When my desk would get really messy, she would take my desk in front of the whole room and dump it upside down and make me clean it all back up.’ I thought he’d be shocked or mad on my behalf, but nope. ‘That’s just so sad mom.'”

‘I can be awkward. I was never a part of that elusive inner circle I so desperately wanted to fit in.’: Woman admits she was never part of the ‘popular crowd,’ ‘I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea’

“I felt this innate need to be liked. When people didn’t like me? Guys, it would haunt me. I’d tweak my personality to become what I thought would be more appealing. I’d get bullied. I spent an unhealthy amount of time thinking about it. Was it because my family wasn’t rich? That I wore the wrong clothes? Thank God I don’t make the cut.”

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