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Talk Now about bullying on the autism spectrum


April 2, World Autism Awareness Day

As part of the "Speak Now" campaign for the phenomenon of Domestic Violence and Bullying, "The Smile of a Child" sheds light on Bullying incidents, but also the risk of children and adolescents on the autism spectrum being in this position. .

A particularly important dimension, which we should not overlook, if we take into account that internationally the incidence of autism is 1 in 60 people.

On the occasion of April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, "The Smile of the Child" is present with a series of actions, one of which is a symbolic activist action that includes running, cycling, sea kayaking, a distance from Syntagma in Athens to Ithaca.

The start will take place on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 8:00 am. in Syntagma square.

Participating in the effort is Mr. Nikolaos Athanasopoulos Teacher and Deputy Director of the Unified Special Vocational High School - Lyceum of Patras, a man with vast experience and substantial contribution, and with him fourteen excellent, aware citizens - activists with special knowledge and experience.

At the same time, in this action and in the campaign to highlight this huge problem, specialized doctors, trainers - therapists, special educators and of course parents who live a daily odyssey have an active role.

Bullying, the often unbearable daily life, the exclusion and the difficult daily life of children and their families will emerge through real stories.

Symbolic activism includes running, cycling, sea kayaking on a highly symbolic route. In more detail:

  • Saturday 2/4/2022

8:00 a.m. Syntagma Athens - 15:00 p.m. Isthmus of Corinth: Running 72 kilometers


Participants: MICHALIS ANAGNOSTOU, Fire Brigade, Federal coach S.E.G.A.S. / GIANNIS ARTOPIOS, Fire Brigade Officer / MANTHOS KAVALARIS, Freelancer / IOANNIS KAVALARIS, Hellenic Police / ATHANASIOS MICHAS, Navy Officer / PEGPA ETA


  • Saturday 2/4/2022

15:30 pm Isthmus of Corinth - Rio - 20:00 pm. Antirrio: Cycling 140 km


Participants: CHRONISDROUGIAS, Sports Doctor - Hand. Orthopedist / Director of the 2nd Orthopedic IASO of Larissa / POLYKARPOS KIDONIATIS, Freelancer


  • Sunday 3/4/2022

8:00 a.m. Antirrio - 12:00 p.m. Messolonghi: Running 40 kilometers


Participants: MANOLIS PERIVOLAS, Professor of Special Physical Education / GIANNIS GIATAGANAS, Informatics Consultant / PANAGIOTIS KOKKALIS, Mathematician / GIORGIOS GEORGIOS, Employee DEPOS GYOR


  • Sunday 3/4/2022 or Monday 4/4/2022 (depending on weather conditions)

7:00 a.m. Messolonghi - 17:00 p.m. Ithaca: kayaking, 70 km


Participants: NIKOLAOS ATHANASOPOULOS, Special Physical Education Teacher at EN.E.E.GY.L. Patras / PANAGIOTIS GRAMMATIKOPOULOS, Employee at OAKA - former champion with pan-European weightlifting distinction

Each station is chosen to symbolize the life of a child with autism.

As Mr. Athanasopoulos notes: "It is worth defending the" constitutional "rights of people with Autism. It is worth understanding their difficulty in accessing information directly through educational "canals", their need to communicate and to "bridge" the inevitable distance from the formal world. It is worthwhile to get rid of the "siege" of any hostile, abusive education and to receive support so that they do not fall victim to bullying so that they can finally find "Ithaca"  in their "Odyssey". "

The symbolism of the stations:

The Constitution in Athens symbolizes the constitutional rights of every person with autism, the culture of our society and the substantial support of all in something that concerns us all and not a few.

The Isthmus of Corinth symbolizes the synapses in the human brain, which enable quick and direct access between its various fields to collect, process information and execute final decisions. In Autism some synapses are absent or dysfunctional resulting in difficulty in processing and executive ability. So what seems like a simple thought and execution for some, for people with Autism is complicated because they are forced to travel long distances. So while a "Typical" ship will arrive from Corinth to Elefsina via the Isthmus Canal, an "Autistic" ship will need to tour the Peloponnese.

The Rio - Antirrio Bridge symbolizes the Bridge of Education that makes the life of all of us more Functional and Dignified. The Rio-Antirio Bridge did not change the location for Rio and Antirrio, but made the  move to them easier.

Messolonghi symbolizes how children with Autism feel besieged and scared in their Autism shelter. If we take into account the siege of sensory stimuli that prevents them from focusing on the important to structure-organize their thinking and action plans, then there is a serious possibility that their attempt to state-express the need for security and support. from our Typical world to be inevitably painful for everyone, similar to the self-sacrifice of the "Besieged" in the "Exodus of Messolonghi".

Ithaca symbolizes the Odyssey that is inevitable a) in the journey of each person with Autism and his family, b) in the journey of acceptance and smooth integration and coexistence with our "typical" world. Those who decide to travel, will become richer in knowledge that will be the supply for  to understand the world of Autism and its difficulties in order to find solutions to them.

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