From junior high school to college, Xi Zi suffered from long-term exclusion and bullying. But it wasn't her fault, she was socially disabled with Asperger's syndrome (AS).
In September 2010, Xi Zi enrolled in the local junior high school in Shaoguan, Guangdong province. For Xi Zi, school was not a paradise.
Adolescence should be the age of physical and emotional development. However, boys in Xi Zi's school made fun of her for dressing in old-fashioned clothing with her corpulent physique and always called her a "tomboy". The feelings of humiliation about her appearance made Xi Zi feel inferior.
During breaks, students in blue and white striped school uniforms filed out of the classroom, chasing and making fun of each other in the hallway. Xi Zi remained in the front seat of the classroom, staring at cartoons on the table, and no one noticed her. She usually spent playtime alone.
In October, the school organized a military training. After changing into camouflage training clothes, everyone went to the queue. From the front row to the last row, wherever she stood, students said they didn't want to stand with her, and finally she had to move to the edge of the queue.
Back in the dormitory, if something got lost, her roommates would slander Xi Zi as the thief. At first, she would subconsciously retreat, pretending to be inaudible. Later, she thought it was her fault since everyone was making the same accusations, and she felt guilty.
There was a popular classmate named Xiao Qian who was beautiful and social. In the third grade, Xi Zi and Xiao Qian sat the beighboring tables. Xiao Qian's mobile phone fell from the desk during the class, Xi Zi bent over to pick it up. Xi Zi, thinking that the teacher wasn't serious about playing with mobile phones, stood directly from the table to hand the phone back. Xiao Qian was angry about that. Wait until after class, she scolded her in front of everyone. Xi Zi was so frightened that she cried.
Xi Zi looked forward to her high school life. She thought that as long as she didn't put a spotlight on herself, she could make good friends there. Not long after school had started, students needed to clean the top floor. Xiao Zhou, one of her classmates who everyone knew was not good to provoke, romped on the floor. As one of the class committee, Xi Zi reminded him to behave himself. Yet, her reprimanding annoyed Xiao Zhou. Xiao Zhou spread the story of Xi Zi's past in the high school to classmates until, finally, everyone isolated her.
The experience of high school caused Xi Zi low self-esteem and she began self-attacking: she blamed herself for not doing well enough. As a result, she was unable to study properly, her grades plummeted, and she repeated a year of school before she went to college.
When she went to college, she was asked to move out of the dormitory because she often returned late for attending activities in school associations.
In 2018, as a junior college student, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD) and depression. The seeds of inferiority, self-doubt and sensitivity planted by past experiences had grown, she even wanted to die. After multiple consultations, the counselor told her she had Asperger's syndrome.
Asperger's syndrome, also known as Asperger's, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
According to the World Health Organization, the important features of AS is the difficulty to socialize and use nonverbal communication, accompanied by narrow interests and repetitive specific behaviors, which also means that children in this category are more likely to be marginalized and isolated in interpersonal communication because of birth defects.
On August 7 2021, the 7th iSTART Children's Art Festival opened and The Choice of Transfer Students won the More One Go Special Attention award. According to curators, the theme of the art festival was Game School, schools are not only colorful, but also encounter some relatively "dark" corners.
2021年8月7日，第七届iSTART儿童艺术节开幕，《转校生的抉择》赢得了More One Go特别关注奖。据策展人介绍，艺术节的主题是“游戏校园”，学校不仅是五彩缤纷的，也有一些相对“黑暗”的角落。
Xi Zi hoped that speaking out about her experiences would help bullied children "fight for their voice and stop staying in the 'hurt' narrative. I hope they know that in the face of bullying, we also have the ability to fight back." said Xi Zi.
Bullying is one of the most common forms of violence on school campuses, according to a UNICEF report released in 2018, and over a third of students aged 13 to 15 worldwide have experienced bullying. Among them, marginalized children are particularly vulnerable to bullying, such as children with disabilities.
In general, symptoms such as Asperger's syndrome and Tori's syndrome do not affect a child's intellectual development. Several parents said they wanted their kids to be educated in ordinary schools. But because of physical disorders, this category of children is vulnerable to exclusion and bullying at school. It should be noted that bullying at schools is different from violence at schools. According to the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, violence in schools focuses on the damage to the lives and property of teachers and students, while bullying in schools focuses on mental harm which is "private and difficult to observe directly".
We need comprehensive education. On the one hand, special children need extra attention. On the other hand, parents, teachers and school administrators are responsible for preventing bullying in schools. Teachers and parents need to be more understanding and tolerant for children who do not receive timely support and assistance.