Autistic children a prime target for school bullies

Close to half of the teenagers that suffer from autism spectrum disorder suffer bullying while at school, according to a survey completed by their parents. This past Monday, the results of the study were published by the Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, and they suggest that the rate may be higher than the 11% of general population kids that are bullied. In other words, children with autism are almost five times more likely to suffer bullying on the playground.

Previous unassociated studies show that teens and kids that are bullied are more likely to be anxious, depressed, and lonely then other children that are not bullied. In addition, they are found to perform worse in school than other kids. Children with autism already have a harder time completing their school work when compared to other children in school. Thus, if they are bullied then they will have even more problems completing their homework.

Researchers believe that the findings point to why schools need to tailor their anti-bullying campaigns to address the special needs of vulnerable populations that are affected by bullying, especially children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and autism.

Lead author Paul R. Sterzing stated that the bullying interventions that are common practice right now are not effective if they are not tailored to help high risk students. He also added that the problem will likely become more common as the amount of kids diagnosed continues to grow. It is estimated that about one out of 88 children now has autism to some degree and that there may be more borderline cases that are not diagnosed.