Standing up to bullies

Timothy Folkema

4 April 2018 – Timothy Folkema hopes baring his soul in print and on video about the bullying he experienced as a youngster empowers others experiencing something similar to stand up for themselves too.

The Hamilton-based Progress to Health community support facilitator featured in Altogether Autism’s first journal of 2018 talking about how Dragon Ball Z got him through high school in Havelock North.

Timothy praised a teacher who provided a safe space for him and other friends with autism ultimately resulting in a good learning environment for them all.

“What I did (talking to Altogether Autism) felt quite raw; there was a lot of personal stuff in that story,” he says.

“I am autistic, I say that proudly now.”

Attitude Live recently filmed Timothy, a talented musician, for the latest Life Unlimited Question Time series.

In it he says he’s passionate about helping people find their tribe and he talks about the bullies from his teens and what he did to combat them.

The video goes live on Friday April 6 and in he discusses why he was the target of bullying.

“They’ll try and get rid of you by any means.

“I put up a big brick wall and I stayed behind it.”

Today he is more confident and self-aware.

“We don’t struggle with our autism, we thrive.

“Being autistic is a way of life, we just need to take ownership of it.”

Timothy runs a weekly Autism Peer Support Circle gathering in Hamilton’s Garden Place every Friday from 3-5pm.

He concedes it has been a challenge getting people along but there are three regulars who find it helpful so they will continue.

“Everybody’s talking about them so it’s just a matter of time hopefully.”

Timothy is currently working with a reserved autistic person who is, in his words, “a super talented artist.”

“He wants to start up an art gallery for autistic people and I’m keen to do anything I can to support him in that.”

For further details contact Timothy on 0800 77 57 57.