Buddy or Bully? How Your Child with Autism Can Easily Tell Them Apart


Buddy or Bully? How Your Child with Autism Can Easily Tell Them Apart

Children with autism struggle with interpreting social communication. Due to the complexity of people’s behavior and language, children with autism may find it challenging to determine who is genuinely kind versus those who are mean-spirited. Together, you and your child can discuss the peers in his or her life and make educated decisions on who gets the privilege to be his or her friend! HOW TO TELL THEM APART Help your child distinguish these polar opposite personalities using words he or she can understand. You can show how the word ‘buddy’ contains the word ‘bud’, which is the start of a flower or tree that’s about to bloom into something bigger, fragrant, and more special. Like budding flowers, being ‘buddies’ with someone is something very nice and sweet, and other flowers enjoy growing near them. On the other hand, point out how the word ‘bull’ is in ‘bully.’ No one wants to be near a bull because he is not nice and sweet, and he can hurt us. 👍 ‘BUDDY’ CHECKLIST Together with your child, have her or him rate the peers in his life on a scale of 0 (never); 1 (sometimes); 2 (often); 3 (always):

  • Gives me happy smiles

  • Asks me questions I want to answer

  • Likes to help me

  • Wants to talk with me at lunch

  • Wants to play with me at recess or after school

  • Makes me feel happy and nice like a flower in the garden

  • Shares her or his toys or school supplies with me

  • Helps me understand what he or she is talking about when we have a conversation

  • When I talk with him or her, he or she pays attention to me and listens to me

Results: If this checklist has mostly 1’s or 2’s, then this person is a friend—like a flower within the garden. If there are any 3s, this person can be considered a closer friend—like a flower that grows nearer to you within the garden. If there are any zeros, refer to the “Bully Checklist” below. Discuss with your child other positive details he or she likes about friends to make this list longer.

👎 ‘BULLY’ CHECKLIST Same as the Buddy Checklist, have your child rate the peers in his life on a scale of 0 (never); 1 (sometimes); 2 (often); 3 (always):

  • Makes mean or silly faces at me

  • Asks me questions I don’t want to or can’t answer

  • Doesn’t help me

  • Says mean things to me at lunch

  • Leaves me out of games at recess

  • Makes me feel unhappy, upset, or afraid

  • Doesn’t share her or his toys or school supplies with me

  • Doesn’t help me understand what he or she is talking about when we have a conversation

  • When I try to talk with him or her, he or she ignores me

Results: If this checklist has any 1’s or 2’s, then this person should be avoided—like a weed that makes the garden look not so nice. If there are any 3’s, this person may be considered a bully and requires adult intervention. Bullies, like bulls, do not belong and are not allowed inside of the garden. If there are any zeros, refer to the “Buddy Checklist” above. Discuss with your child other negative details he or she encounters to make this list longer. THIS BUD’S FOR YOU! Even though the words are only distinguished by a pair of D’s and L’s, that makes all of the difference with whom we consider befriending. Providing an organized system like these checklists can help you get to know your child better while helping your child make keen observations for lasting friendships.

Are you eager to help your child communicate better but not sure where to begin?

Hi! I'm Karen Kabaki-Sisto, an autism communication expert for over 20 years.

If your child with autism talks, he or she likely has difficulties understanding and expressing words, gestures, and feelings. I created this user-friendly tool to turn your observations into real insights about:

 

  • SOCIAL INTERACTION

  • BODY LANGUAGE

  • EMOTIONS

  • VERBAL ABILITIES

  • PERSPECTIVE-TAKING
     

Upon completion, you'll instantly receive a detailed report of your child's current communication strengths and weaknesses. Over time, you can make new assessments (as often as you'd like) to monitor her or his progress.

 

Easy-to-follow and so necessary! 

What you will learn...

By submitting your E-mail, you'll receive a link to my FREE Communication Assessment Tool and ideas for overcoming communication challenges your verbal child with autism may be experiencing. I'll also send my personal E-mail address to connect with me directly about your concerns!  ~Karen :)