An autism charity has issued an urgent plea to bullies to consider a gentler approach when targeting autistic pupils.

According to Autism Shrieks – which your mum tried to set as her Facebook birthday fundraiser, a little torment goes a long way.

“We’re past the age of shoving heads down toilets,” insists charity trustee Deborah Whitehead, 49. “What we’d go for is something more underhand and more subtle, that exhausted, overworked school staff won’t have time to cotton onto. 12-year-old girls are particularly good at it.”

“There’s that lovely phrase ‘be kind’. But really? You just need to be more strategic with it,” explains local headteacher Tricia Squire, 61.

“Avoid cornering them in the playground. Or throwing netballs balls at their head,” advises Squire. “What we’d recommend is lining up pupils in PE and making them chose a teammate each, until the asthmatic, unco-ordinated and likely neurodivergent runt of the year group stands alone. We can’t see the problem with that at all.”

Ellie Mulligan, 13, the autistic pupil who was picked last that day, did see a problem with that – but was relieved when a netball hit her in the head, getting her out of the rest of the session.

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