Jack Lowe is a teenager from Bristol. He is also on the autism spectrum.
He says that autism comes with its share of good and bad. One bad thing is that, like many autistic individuals, he gets bullied by his peers for being “different.”
Now the brave young man is speaking out about his experiences by starring in an educational video called “Think Beyond Autism.” The video is meant to educate the public about the high prevalence of bullying among people with autism and encourage viewers to look beyond the label of autism to see the unique and wonderful person who just so happens to have the diagnosis.
According to the video, 75 percent of autistic children are bullied, which makes this an important subject to talk about.
“I have experienced discrimination from my peers,” Jack says. “I will always try to ignore them, but when I get upset, I will bang my head against the wall to stop me from lashing out.”
“They bully me and wouldn’t leave me alone,” he also says. “They would take my things.
“If I said something to them, they would just ignore me. They knew I would get really upset because they knew how it affected me and they took advantage of that.”
Jack, who is a student at Cotham School, worked with students at Fairfield High School—the latter of which worked to produce the film.
The video also includes the input of Henry Barnes, from the National Autistic Society. Barnes suggests that the appropriate response to teasing and bullying is to reach out to an adult or authority figure who can help put an end to the cruel treatment.
Because autism tends to be somewhat of an invisible disorder, those without it may sometimes see autistic people acting a bit “out of the ordinary” and assume they’re doing that because they’re “weird,” instead of seeing the reality—that they have a developmental disorder.
This misunderstanding doesn’t justify the maltreatment, of course; it just comes to show that we need to further educate society about autism to foster empathy and understanding.
This video is just one of the many tools that can help us combat the discrimination and bullying that those on the autism spectrum face far too often.
Check out the video below!
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.