Don’t Pick on Autism

Autistic teens may be targets of bullying

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Bullying can take many forms and can make school hard for kids. Teens with autism may be at greater risk of being bullied than other children.

Almost half of the teens with autism in a recent study were victims of bullying.

For teens with autism, some factors, like having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or being in mainstream classes, were linked to being bullied.

Schools can work to make sure teens with autism are understood by their peers.

"Talk with your child about bullying."

A recent study, led by Paul R. Sterzing, PhD, at Washington University in St. Louis, looked at nation-wide surveys from 2001.

The surveys were completed by parents, principles, and school staff.

The surveys showed that 46.3 percent of teens with autism were victims of bullying, and 16.8 percent of teens with ASD were involved with bullying others.

The national estimates are that 34 percent of school-aged kids are victims of bullying, and 35 percent of kids are involved with bullying others. However, rates of bullying vary by age, region, and country.

Compared to national estimates, teens with ASD are bullied more and bully others less.

Teens with ASD who were victims of bullying were more likely to be non-hispanic, have more classes in general education, have ADHD and have lower social skills.

Teens who bullied others were more likely to have ADHD, to be white, and to get together with friends at least once a week.

The authors concluded that bullying programs in schools need to target some of the problems teens with ASD may have, like low-levels of social skills.

They also recommend that schools add targeted programs to teach all children about ASD and help all kids with positive social interactions.

This study was published in September in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Conflict of interest information was not available.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 5, 2012
Last Updated:
September 7, 2012