Bullied because we’re different: ‘Different’ includes ‘Exceptional”!

In Mexico, a child named Adhara Perez was bullied, called ‘weirdo’ and ‘oddball’.  In one incident, her ‘playmates’ locked her in a playhouse, while taunting her relentlessly for being ‘different’.

These attitudes are all too familiar to children with Asperger’s.

Even as adults, it can seem that the harder we try to fit in socially, the more we subject ourselves to painful disdain when our efforts only exacerbate our difference.

But what about those of us who find acceptance as we are?

The best possible scenario is when a parent or a spouse sees the positive aspects of our ‘syndrome’.  This is what happened with Adhara Perez.

Her mother, witnessing the playhouse incident, vowed that Adhara would never have to suffer such humiliating treatment again.

She consoled Adhara, encouraging her through therapy and subsequent tests which revealed that Adhara actually had an astounding IQ!  That was at the age of four.

Part of her mother’s determination that Adhara should never again be subjected to bullying was the decision to take her out of school, where  bored and depressed, Adhara often slept through her classes. 

After her amazing intellect was discovered, Adhara began studying in a non-traditional manner.  She graduated from high school at age 8, and is currently working on two degrees, Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering in Mathematics. 

When we consider the lives of children with Asperger’s whose parents have stood by them, we see an illustration of the extraordinary benefits they can bring to the world.

Two women come immediately to mind:  First, Temple Grandin, who has championed the humane treatment of livestock en route to slaughter. As well, Grandin has written scientific treatises on animal behaviour and several books[1] including one about the autistic brain.

Secondly, Greta Thunberg, who has shaken up the world by forcing us towards a greater recognition of the disastrous effects that environmental pollution will have upon both present and future generations.

What does Adhara advise people who find themselves in hateful situations?

Never give up! And if you’re in an intolerable situation you despise? Then formulate concrete plans to move yourself forward into a better situation.

Let’s all do ourselves a great favour by remembering: ‘different’ need not be a negative attribute. It includes those who are gifted with insights which are unavailable to the vast majority of those with normal cognitive function, as the ‘normal’ brain is too often passively unquestioning, and thus unable to visualise, sustain and actualize alternate possibilities. 


[1] Grandin wrote several books, including Emergence: Labeled Autistic (1986; with Margaret M. Scariano), Thinking in Pictures, and Other Reports from My Life with Autism (1995), and The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum (2013; with Richard Panek). Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor (2018) was for younger readers. She also edited and contributed to the volume Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals (1998).

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