My nickname was retard: how I survived bullying

“When everyone else has given up on you, it’s hard not to give up on yourself.” Struggling with learning disabilities and battling bullying – like horrible mean nicknames and being called “retard” – Ben discovered early on that kids can be cruel to children with differences like autism. With no friends and no future in sight, he cried himself to sleep at night, even contemplating suicide. But then he had a revelation which changed everything.

“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I dont have the power to remain silent.”

Rabbi A.Y. Cook

Ben is a fighter. And there are others out there. People who seem so ordinary – yet contain a hidden greatness. Watch the rest of our Hear Me Roar series, and meet young Jewish heroes who have overcome staggering obstacles to reveal their inner strength.

If you or someone you know is dealing with bullying, reach out to a mental health professional or responsible adult. If you need more help, call the SAMHSA National Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). If you’re worried that you or someone you know may might hurt themselves, please call the US National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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