I’m working with a student, Martin, with autism who has a hard time telling the difference between “bullying” and “just kidding”. He thinks every interaction is bullying to him, and since he has trouble understanding and appreciating non-verbal behavior he is missing cues that tell him some of these behaviors are just part of classroom fun and not designed to hurt him. His extreme reaction to social behaviors that really are joking or fun (not harmful) is limiting his participation in his classroom.
Recently the teacher set his desk off to the side of the classroom, really kind of into the closet. This is a good temporary solution to decrease interactions between him and his classmates, but I wanted to help Martin learn how to tell the difference between bullying and just kidding, so he would not have to be separated from them. I made this worksheet with describing words and photos that illustrate the two ideas.
After teaching the worksheet I cut the pictures and sentences up, and had Martin go through each idea or picture, then glue it to a poster board with two columns, “Bullying” and “Just Kidding”. He was able to do it. By breaking these ideas into pieces, I could talk to him when the kids interacted with him, and help him see each action as one from his poster.