Like any parent, Sonia Buckley wants the best for her son, Billy. But at his school, Billy has been labelled a bully by both the teachers and other kids at his school because of his behavioural issues related to ADHD. Hoping to raise awareness of children with “non-visual” disabilities, Buckley’s posted a video online pleading with the school and parents to give her son a second chance.
In the six minute video, Buckley reads a letter that she wrote to the school, which she claims they refused to read or publish. In the letter she addresses other parents.
“You may have been quick to judge an already dislike a child that you have never met simply going off of what you have heard about my son — maybe even thought Billy is a bully,” she reads. “He may have said some nasty things or even hurt your child and for that I am truly sorry.”
“I’m writing you today, as one parent to another, in the hope to educate our children and to teach them not to judge a book by it’s cover.”
Buckley explains that Billy suffers from a number of non-visual disabilities including, “ADHD, ODD, an intellectual learning disability and severe behaviour disorder,” and that he has been struggling with this daily from a very young age. She says that while he is medicated and sees a number of specialists, he often comes across as the “naughty child” and has difficulty relating to other kids.
She shares his language scores and explains that Billy doesn’t interpret the world around him in the same way that other children his age do.
“If someone says that Billy can’t play basketball because they have enough players, Billy will interpret that as you have said you don’t like him and he can’t play because you hate him. In his mind, this is what has happened.”
Because of his misunderstood reactions, Billy doesn’t have any friends nor does he get invited to other kids birthday parties or sleepovers. She explains how hard it is to see him come home crying each day and to see the way other kids exclude him in the school yard.
“People think Billy is a bully but he doesn’t understand the world and the world doesn’t understand him. If your child would only give Billy a chance, they would see a beautiful boy — maybe even a friend.”
So far the video has been viewed more than 58,000 times, with nearly 300 comments.
“This hits me so hard. Because I’ve got the same disability as this young fella called billy,” says Jario Cunningham. “I was always the one left out at school or picked on, Still to this day I have no friends. My school always would say I’m the reason for my behaviour.”
“Dear Sonia. Thanks for your video. I feel for you and Billy. As my child has Aspergers I understand how others expectations can be beyond what my child can do as his challenges are also not immediately apparent and in the area of social and communication difficulties.
I wish you both well,” writes Kylie R-j.
While Billy’s school reportedly continues to ignore Buckley’s plea, she hopes her online efforts will be enough to reach parents.
“Please share this video and get the word out because we’re all different and we all deserve a chance,” Buckley concludes, battling back tears.