Children with Autism Bullied 3 Times as Much

Author: Kennedy Krieger Institute
Published: 2012/03/27 - Updated: 2022/04/10
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: Preliminary results of national survey examines the impact of bullying on children with autism spectrum disorders. These children, who are sometimes intentionally "triggered" into meltdowns or aggressive outbursts by peers, are bullied three times more frequently than their siblings who do not have ASD. Types of bullying most often reported include being teased, picked on or made fun of (73 percent); being ignored or left out of things deliberately (51 percent); being called bad names (47 percent); and being pushed, shoved, hit, slapped or kicked (nearly 30 percent).

Main Digest

New data shows children with autism bullied three times more frequently than their unaffected siblings - The Interactive Autism Network reports 63 percent of children with autism have been bullied.

The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) reports preliminary results of the first national survey to examine the impact of bullying on children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The results show that 63 percent of children with ASD have been bullied at some point in their lives. These children, who are sometimes intentionally "triggered" into meltdowns or aggressive outbursts by peers, are bullied three times more frequently than their siblings who do not have ASD.

"These survey results show the urgent need to increase awareness, influence school policies and provide families and children with effective strategies for dealing with bullying," said Dr. Paul Law, director of the IAN Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "We hope that this research will aid efforts to combat bullying by helping parents, policymakers, and educators understand the extent of this problem in the autism community and be prepared to intervene."

Nearly 1,200 parents of children with ASD completed the survey. Findings show that these children (ages 6 to 15 years) are especially vulnerable to bullying, and point to several risk factors.

Where and When Bullying Occurs

Potential Risk Factors

Experience as Bullies and "Bully-Victims"

While children with ASD are frequently victims, they may also behave as bullies, or at least be viewed as a bully.

Researchers believe that the deficits in social understanding common in children with ASD may lead to bullying behavior by the child who is different from that displayed by typically developing children. For example, an honest but socially unacceptable remark such as, "You're fat," by the child with ASD may be viewed by others as purposely cruel when it is not. Likewise, a child with ASD who is accidentally bumped into might misinterpret this as intentional, and lash out in a way that looks like bullying.

"Children with ASD are already vulnerable. To experience teasing, taunts, ostracism or other forms of spite may make a child who was already struggling to cope become completely unable to function," said Dr. Law. "The issue is complex, and we plan to analyze the data carefully and publish peer-reviewed findings that will serve to advance policy and care for individuals with ASD."

The Bullying and School Experiences of Children with ASD Survey was developed by the IAN Project's autism experts in partnership with Benjamin Zablotsky, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Catherine Bradshaw, the deputy director of the Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention and Early Intervention and an expert on bullying.

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication pertaining to our Autism Information section was selected for circulation by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Children with Autism Bullied 3 Times as Much" was originally written by Kennedy Krieger Institute, and submitted for publishing on 2012/03/27 (Edit Update: 2022/04/10). Should you require further information or clarification, Kennedy Krieger Institute can be contacted at kennedykrieger.org. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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Cite This Page (APA): Kennedy Krieger Institute. (2012, March 27). Children with Autism Bullied 3 Times as Much. Disabled World. Retrieved February 21, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/autism/bully.php

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