Research – Why Autistic children are likely to be bullied

uom-logoStudy reveals factors why autistic children are likely to be bullied.


The study which involved 722 teachers and 119 parents. Dr Judith Hebron and Professor Neil Humphrey from The University of Manchester say

Older autistic children are more likely to be bullied than youngsters

Children would be more likely to be bullied at mainstream, rather than special schools.

Bullying is less likely if they have strong support networks of friends and teachers and when parents actively engage with their school.

Poor behaviour associated with the condition also leads to bullying

The use of public transport to travel to and from school can be a time when children are bullied

Children without a ‘statement’ – entitling them to specific support and provision – are less likely to be bullied

Researchers believe that because younger students have less complicated social groupings, they may be more tolerant of autism, and this tolerance of difference may decrease among teenagers and lead to an increase in bullying.

The results are published in the journal Autism. Dr Hebron said: “Children with autism are easy targets because their behaviour may be regarded as odd or different, and our research tells us this is likely to result in bullying, teasing and provocation. But not all of these children are bullied, and as researchers, we are interested in finding out why.”

She added: “Our results send out a message to parents and teachers to help them identify opportunities where they can intervene to prevent bullying.

“Having an adult on public transport, for example, might be a way to decrease the likelihood of bullying: unstructured social situations with little or no adult supervision are, according to our results, likely to lead to bullying

“Contrary to what people may think, many children on the autistic spectrum – with support from their school and parents –wish to and are able to make friends, so our findings on the importance of social networks are potentially important.

“Peer groups can be very inclusive and a positive culture within a school with a zero tolerance of bullying can nurture this type of environment.”

The article is titled “Risk and protective factors Exposure to bullying among students with autism spectrum conditions: A multi-informant analysis of risk and protective factors.”

What’s your thoughts on bullying and autism? let me know your thoughts!


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Lisa Warner

Founder at Fink Cards
Lisa Warner, one part of the Family Communication Duo, is an energetic and passionate ball of energy, whose excitement and enthusiasm know no bounds. Her drive and belief in doing the impossible has been rewarded when her mission to get families talking led her to found the incredibly successful Fink Cards and won her the title of Female Entrepreneur of the Year. Her contagious positive outlook regularly see her appearing on the radio, in newspapers and magazines where she will happily talk about the importance of good family communication. The entrepreneur, activist and energizer proudest achievement to date is creating a strong and happy marriage and raising 4 confident and sociable teenagers.

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