Rosie and Glen were both bullied at school because of their impairments. In this blog they talk about how they moved forward with their lives and want to spread awareness about the bullying many disabled people face.
“Being bullied made me determined to raise awareness about invisible disabilities”.
Being dyspraxic meant at school I always stood out like a sore thumb compared to others.
From the way I walk and move in a clumsy uncoordinated way which was different to others, always falling or bumping into others or other things.
To it’s made me socially anxious and struggle to maintain friendships. I always had and probably will have different interests to people my own age. I’ve always been seen as disorganised, chaotic, messy and a bit all over the place.
Being so different made me an easy target for being at the receiving end of some awful bullying. Words can have such an impact on your life and how you see and perceive yourself. It made me lose what little confidence I had to begin with and really struggle with my mental health and I would hear the words of what people were saying constantly. I thought I must really be stupid as it was constantly being said to me.
I put a lot of the bullying due to lack of awareness to what dyspraxia is, the fact that dyspraxia is invisible to the eye and negative assumptions of what I could or couldn’t achieve. As an adult I still struggle with anxiety and will never be a naturally confident person.
But my experiences made me decide that nobody should have to go through what myself or my family had been through and I was determined that more awareness needed to be raised about issues invisible to the eye.
The bullying I experienced has taught me the power of words and why I choose mine so carefully and not make judgements and assumptions about others.
I work as a learning support as a college and know the value of time, patience and empathy can have on students who may be struggling. I have also been able to prove the people wrong who said I wouldn’t achieve anything.
Words have the power to encourage, destroy, make someone loose confidence in themselves or make someone feel hopeful. We can all try and help people feel hopeful.
“I’m still a little bit shy and probably always will be, but I’m far more positive now”.
I first went to a mainstream school, but it didn’t go well. The teachers didn’t know how to help, and I was bullied by other kids because of my sight loss. So I was removed very quickly, and transferred to a school for the visually impaired that my parents discovered.
Of course, my confidence had been shattered, so I was very shy. Which led to some of the kids at my new school bullying me as well. Not because of my sight, as they were in the same boat, but because they realised they could wind me up easily.
However, I made good friends, and the teachers were extremely supportive, so my confidence gradually improved over the years. And I even became friends with the kids who had teased me at first. Partly because I was being more successful than them, but I also got to learn more about them, which helped me understand their behaviour and put it into context. We learnt a lot from each other.
So things turned out well in the end. I came away with great friends, fond memories and good results, and got myself a degree and a job. I’m still a little bit shy today, and probably always will be, but I’m far more positive and confident than I would have been if I hadn’t moved schools when I did.
This is an extract from Glen’s blog Well Eye Never. You can read Glen’s full post about bullying here.
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