‘Get help to escape bullies' - Newport Aspergers woman

South Wales Argus: PLEA: Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer Karen Thompson and mum Pat PLEA: Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer Karen Thompson and mum Pat

A NEWPORT woman with Asperger syndrome who says she was bullied throughout her childhood and some of her adult life is calling on others in the same situation to seek help.

Karen Thompson 45, of Newport, who wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, until the age of 38, says she was a bullying victim from nursery right through to comprehensive school.

But the trauma didn’t stop after school as she even experienced cruel comments while trying to make a living for herself.

Now she is calling on others in the same situation to seek help as part of a campaign by the National Autistic Society Cymru to raise awareness and understanding of autism and to put an end to bullying of people with autism spectrum disorders.

Miss Thompson, who was also diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 22, says she remembers being laughed at in school, had her school bag thrown down a railway embankment and her coat thrown into the mud and trodden on.

She said: "There were times when the bullying became so uncomfortable I would feel unwell, and would tell my parents, just to get a rest for a day."

Even when trying out jobs when she was older, although the bullying was not continuous, at some places she would get nasty comments and people would expect more from her than she was capable of.

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It wasn’t until she worked in a school that her condition was finally recognised.

Miss Thompson is currently unemployed due to her difficulty finding a job suitable for her condition.

Miss Thompson’s mum, Pat said: "When Karen was diagnosed it was a great relief. We now just want to do anything that will help publicise the problem of bullying and help stop it.

For more information about helping to recognise and cope with bullying visit the website via the link.

Comments (8)

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9:51pm Mon 28 May 12

kalwales@hotmail.com says...

Bullying is Rife in Schools, Places of Employent, Clubs almost everywhere we turn, i urge anyone to speak out and lets combat bullying of any form wether physically, emotinally or Verbally
Bullying is Rife in Schools, Places of Employent, Clubs almost everywhere we turn, i urge anyone to speak out and lets combat bullying of any form wether physically, emotinally or Verbally kalwales@hotmail.com

11:00pm Mon 28 May 12

JoJoJoJo says...

Bullying of Autistic people will go on and on until awareness is raised. I have a friend with Asperger's Syndrome, she was bullied at work and sacked for something she didn't do (it was made up by the bullies). She is an awesome woman and stood up for herself, the stress on a person with AS to go through what she did was enormous. I am so glad to say her Union fought her case and she won! The company she works for went for an out of court settlement. In her case the National Autistic Society did nothing to help, in fact they sided with her employer. Had the case gone to court as was planned the NAS would have been hostile witnesses. My point is there is virtually no support out there for adults on the Autism spectrum. I suggest Autism Cymru look her up and ask her for her experiences. Inevitabley her experiences will be of huge benefit to an organisation run by Neuro Typical people. Well done Karen for speaking up!
Bullying of Autistic people will go on and on until awareness is raised. I have a friend with Asperger's Syndrome, she was bullied at work and sacked for something she didn't do (it was made up by the bullies). She is an awesome woman and stood up for herself, the stress on a person with AS to go through what she did was enormous. I am so glad to say her Union fought her case and she won! The company she works for went for an out of court settlement. In her case the National Autistic Society did nothing to help, in fact they sided with her employer. Had the case gone to court as was planned the NAS would have been hostile witnesses. My point is there is virtually no support out there for adults on the Autism spectrum. I suggest Autism Cymru look her up and ask her for her experiences. Inevitabley her experiences will be of huge benefit to an organisation run by Neuro Typical people. Well done Karen for speaking up! JoJoJoJo

12:44pm Tue 29 May 12

Caerleonsimon says...

Thank you Argus and Karen for getting this important issue out there. sad to see jojojo making such a negative comment about a specific point without us being able to see all the details because NAS have helped my family so much and remember if it wasnt for them this story wouldnt be out there and would remain hidden!
Thank you Argus and Karen for getting this important issue out there. sad to see jojojo making such a negative comment about a specific point without us being able to see all the details because NAS have helped my family so much and remember if it wasnt for them this story wouldnt be out there and would remain hidden! Caerleonsimon

11:29pm Tue 29 May 12

JoJoJoJo says...

How is my comment negative? The only negativity in the story of my friend was from the NAS. She is an awesome woman for standing up for herself as raising awareness for AS is crucial. As I said in my last post "Well done Karen for speaking up"
How is my comment negative? The only negativity in the story of my friend was from the NAS. She is an awesome woman for standing up for herself as raising awareness for AS is crucial. As I said in my last post "Well done Karen for speaking up" JoJoJoJo

10:45am Thu 31 May 12

AutismMa_ma says...

So pleased to see this story in my local paper. My autistic son has suffered bullying throughout his school years and I worry about how he will cope in the workplace now he's getting to school-leaving age (if he can find a job).
Jojojojo - you clearly have a personal grudge against NAS. Your comment is negative, cheap and legally risky - you say the charity would have stood against your 'friend' (you?) in court - this is a serious legal allegation about a non-existent court-case!!! with no evidence of your claim and no details of the case so we can judge for ourselves - why would they stand up in court against somebody with autism? Even if they didn't support that individual's legal case against an employer, for whatever reason.
This is the cheapest form of nasty, anonymous gossip and a shame because this story is only here because they are raising awareness through the media. Who else is doing that?
So pleased to see this story in my local paper. My autistic son has suffered bullying throughout his school years and I worry about how he will cope in the workplace now he's getting to school-leaving age (if he can find a job). Jojojojo - you clearly have a personal grudge against NAS. Your comment is negative, cheap and legally risky - you say the charity would have stood against your 'friend' (you?) in court - this is a serious legal allegation about a non-existent court-case!!! with no evidence of your claim and no details of the case so we can judge for ourselves - why would they stand up in court against somebody with autism? Even if they didn't support that individual's legal case against an employer, for whatever reason. This is the cheapest form of nasty, anonymous gossip and a shame because this story is only here because they are raising awareness through the media. Who else is doing that? AutismMa_ma

7:21pm Thu 31 May 12

gordelpus says...

AutismMa_ma wrote:
So pleased to see this story in my local paper. My autistic son has suffered bullying throughout his school years and I worry about how he will cope in the workplace now he's getting to school-leaving age (if he can find a job).
Jojojojo - you clearly have a personal grudge against NAS. Your comment is negative, cheap and legally risky - you say the charity would have stood against your 'friend' (you?) in court - this is a serious legal allegation about a non-existent court-case!!! with no evidence of your claim and no details of the case so we can judge for ourselves - why would they stand up in court against somebody with autism? Even if they didn't support that individual's legal case against an employer, for whatever reason.
This is the cheapest form of nasty, anonymous gossip and a shame because this story is only here because they are raising awareness through the media. Who else is doing that?
That's a really angry attack on JoJoJoJo. The tone of your comments could be construed as bullying. I'm sorry to hear of your son's problems but we all need to set a good example.
[quote][p][bold]AutismMa_ma[/bold] wrote: So pleased to see this story in my local paper. My autistic son has suffered bullying throughout his school years and I worry about how he will cope in the workplace now he's getting to school-leaving age (if he can find a job). Jojojojo - you clearly have a personal grudge against NAS. Your comment is negative, cheap and legally risky - you say the charity would have stood against your 'friend' (you?) in court - this is a serious legal allegation about a non-existent court-case!!! with no evidence of your claim and no details of the case so we can judge for ourselves - why would they stand up in court against somebody with autism? Even if they didn't support that individual's legal case against an employer, for whatever reason. This is the cheapest form of nasty, anonymous gossip and a shame because this story is only here because they are raising awareness through the media. Who else is doing that?[/p][/quote]That's a really angry attack on JoJoJoJo. The tone of your comments could be construed as bullying. I'm sorry to hear of your son's problems but we all need to set a good example. gordelpus

8:58pm Thu 31 May 12

JoJoJoJo says...

I have no reason to have a "grudge" against the NAS. I find your comments very upsetting and aggressive, perhaps you should set an example to the bullies by treating people with the respect that you'd like your son to receive. My friend went through a terrible ordeal but got through it thanks to the support of a Union. The NAS, as I said, sided with her employer and would have been involved with the court case. Although the court was booked and arranged it was only the day prior that her employer offered an out of court settlement. I was glad for my friend that it ended there for her as she'd been through enough. In my opinion (no expert on Autism and consequently no dealing with the NAS) it was a shame that an organisation who are a charity set up to support people on the Autism spectrum did nothing to help my friend. She could have done with help and support from people with some genuine understanding. The only way for people to help is to get some knowledge on Autism which would help them understand why someone on the Autism spectrum behaves the way they do. If awareness was raised and more people knew perhaps then the bullies would be outnumbered. Again, "well done, Karen".
I have no reason to have a "grudge" against the NAS. I find your comments very upsetting and aggressive, perhaps you should set an example to the bullies by treating people with the respect that you'd like your son to receive. My friend went through a terrible ordeal but got through it thanks to the support of a Union. The NAS, as I said, sided with her employer and would have been involved with the court case. Although the court was booked and arranged it was only the day prior that her employer offered an out of court settlement. I was glad for my friend that it ended there for her as she'd been through enough. In my opinion (no expert on Autism and consequently no dealing with the NAS) it was a shame that an organisation who are a charity set up to support people on the Autism spectrum did nothing to help my friend. She could have done with help and support from people with some genuine understanding. The only way for people to help is to get some knowledge on Autism which would help them understand why someone on the Autism spectrum behaves the way they do. If awareness was raised and more people knew perhaps then the bullies would be outnumbered. Again, "well done, Karen". JoJoJoJo

3:02pm Tue 12 Jun 12

AutismMa_ma says...

Jojojo - I'm sorry if my earlier ocmment upset you - I wasn't really angry at you (i don't know you, of course and am sure you're a nice person) but was having a typically impossible day and couldn't really understand why you would want to criticise any charity in this way. Having read your response I understand better your view but still feel it's not the right place to air such grievances.
Gordelplus is right - I should set a better example for my son, and I feel embarrassed for not doing so.
As you say, well done Karen for sharing your story.
Jojojo - I'm sorry if my earlier ocmment upset you - I wasn't really angry at you (i don't know you, of course and am sure you're a nice person) but was having a typically impossible day and couldn't really understand why you would want to criticise any charity in this way. Having read your response I understand better your view but still feel it's not the right place to air such grievances. Gordelplus is right - I should set a better example for my son, and I feel embarrassed for not doing so. As you say, well done Karen for sharing your story. AutismMa_ma

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