Half Of The Kids With Autism Are Bullied

The lack of education and awareness makes life a lot harder for autistic children. A new study shows that half of the kids with autism in the U.S. are bullied on a regular basis.

Sure, a lot has changed for autism patients and their parents, but there’s a lot more work to be done. For a disorder that still remains a mystery for today’s science, awareness campaigns never seem to be enough. A study published this Monday shows autistic children are still bullied in school. In fact, half of the kids and teens with an autism spectrum disorder are bullied at school.

It goes without saying, bullying is a problem of today’s society and schools are really not doing enough to teach acceptance and protect victims. While bullying makes every child’s life harder, when it comes to children with autism, their actual progress and therapy are hindered. The social stigma an autistic child has to handle is ever more challenging when bullying occurs in a place where feeling safe should be essential.

The study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows that half of the kids with autism in the United States are bullied. The new rate is much higher than the original 11 percent of bullied kids in general. 

Researchers with the University of California, Berkley, used a 2001 survey that provided contact information for 920 parents of children with autism. When asked if their children are bullied at school, 46 percent of the parents answered yes. Another 15 percent said their autistic children are bullies, while 9 percent of parents said their children were both bullies and victims.

“I would call it a profound public health problem” said lead author of the study Paul R. Sterzing. “The rate of bullying and victimization among these adolescents is alarmingly high” added the assistant professor with the University of California, Berkeley.

For the most part, teachers don’t consider teasing, name-calling as well as being forbidden to participate in activities as bullying techniques. But for children with autism the defining traits of the disorder are what boost the risk of being bullied. Kids with an autism spectrum disorder have a hard time communicating and reacting in line with social scenarios, aspects that could easily make them awkward to the rest of the children in school.

“I would argue that the bullying interventions that we’re using now, if not tailored, are ineffective” said Paul R. Sterzing.

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