Coworker teasing my ASD child

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Coworker teasing my ASD child
13
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 10:32am

I have a coworker who gets a little carried away with teasing. Mostly he teases children who come visit. He does do in good fun but often its over the line. My 15 ASD daughter came to visit me at work during a special event when the families were there visiting. My coworker knows of her condition and the symptoms. But to make sure she felt welcome I warned him ahead of time not to tease her. Then as she and her sister were arriving he hands her this kids (very small) Dora the Explorer chair and says, 'here Ali have a seat'. She is 15 and a big girl. Way too big for a childs chair. She looked at him confused and embarrassed and he persisted. She spent the rest of the day silent and confused and asked to leave prior to the main event.

I am beyond upset! I spoke to him about it in private and expressed my anger. He offered no apology and only excuses for what he did. I am not happy with that and have written a formal complaint to the manager asking for a written apology from the coworker and some assurance that it would not happen again.

I have been with this company for 8 years and this is the first time I have complained about anything. I have maintained the image of the type who does not rock the boat. But I feel that at this time the boat should be rocked. There were many people present when he embarrassed her.

I am wondering how others would respond to this sort of situation. I am at wits end with this coworker. His teasing is relentless and has gone over the line. I dread coming to work with him and am angry and stressed all the time. I tried to protect her from this sort of thing by warning him but now I feel like I failed at doing that.

Laurie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-27-2008
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 4:23pm
This is not teasing. This was bullying and just plain mean. Shame on him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2007
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 4:46pm

I'm sorry that happened and I hope it never happens again.



((Hugs))

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 4:42am

I'm really sorry that happened, and I think you were right to complain.



BUT I'll play devil's advocate, slightly. Maybe it's different for me, I'm in the UK, and as a culture we go in for teasing A LOT. Particularly in business situations, or male-dominated situations, it's very much part of the normal scheme of social interaction. Your boss would not be considered out of line here, in fact, he would be considered a great guy for trying to engage with your daughter. You can measure how close a friend you are here by how much you tease or undermine someone - and I don't just mean adolescent teasing, I mean in grown up social and work situations too. And as hard as it is for ASD kids to cope with this, it is a fact that they will encounter it, time and time again and they are going to have to develop the skills to deal with it. It's something that is REALLY hard for my Aspie to 'get' but we are working very hard with him on it, because teasing and humour are the key social 'ice breakers' here. It may not be such a big deal in the USA, I don't know. But I imagine it does form a part of social life, even if it isn't as significant as it is for us. So your daughter is going to have to learn how to deal with it.



I wouldn't, therefore, beat yourself up over it, or, more importantly, shield her from it. It's going to happen a lot and you aren't always going to be there to protect her.

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"


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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 6:19am

Wow I guess cultures are a lot different. Here in the US there is a lot of teasing. It happens in my kayak club a lot. But its always between adults. If it happens at work then it might be considered harassment. So people tend to be really careful about what they say and do at work.

Making fun of a special needs kid, especially in front of others, is a big social no no! A huge one.

I could be overly sensitive about it. Or it could be because it was MY kid or it was a special needs kid or because I told him not to just minutes prior to her arriving.

Thanks for the reply. I always like reading about different cultures.

Laurie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 6:53pm

I agree that teasing is a part of our culture. I often tease people but I don't cross that line.

Susan, mom to Sam 11 and Connor 9
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2008
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 5:59pm

You know what? That really makes me angry. This guy sounds like a real jerk. I hope your complaint is noticed and he has to apologize. He sounds like a bully. I would have had it out with this guy the moment he did that to my kid and it would have been ugly.

I'm sorry he embarrassed your daughter. :(

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-03-2010
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 4:25am
Thats not teasing that is being mean if he KNEW the situation.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 5:56pm

Thanks for all the advice. I think I need to push ahead with the written complaint. My boss is on vacation so it will be days before anyone can act on it. I think this has to happen because he has made a habit of teasing people and it has gone too far.

Laurie

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2006
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 6:17pm

thought about this post for a few days. your coworker is a bully. my ex father in law did similar stuff. he made everyone uncomfortable. he said he was being friendly and making the person feel welcome to the group. the coworker needs to be reprimanded for being mean and unprofessional. does coworker treat customers and bosses this way? probably not because he knows it is the wrong way to treat people. if he treats all

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 7:53am

Thats my point. He teases kids and me. He would never treat the boss or a customer that way so why the difference in treatment? There shouldnt be a difference. Like you said it shows he has some issues that need to be addressed. I think he thinks he is being fun but its gotten way out of hand. He was teasing some younger kid that day too and I finally firmly told him to stop. The little kid was scared as my coworker was raising the chair the kid was sitting on higher and higher and as the kid was saying stop he kept doing it. Finally I said to stop it. But it goes in one ear and out the other. He really has turned into an embarrassment.

Laurie

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