Recently, the Interactive Autism Nestwork (IAN) conducted an online survey about the impact of bullying on chindren with ASD, and discovered that nearly two-third of children with autism have been bullied, and they are bullied three times more often than their siblings who do not have ASD. The behaivors and traits associated with becoming a target of bullying were clumsiness, poor hygiene, rigid rule-keeping, talking obsessively about a favorite topic, frequent meltdowns and inflexibility. Findings of the study show that bullying is worst between 5th and 8th grades, and children attending regular public schools (most likely children with Asperger's syndrome) are bullied about 50 percent more than those in private schools or special education settings (children with other ASD diagnoses). Also, children who want to interact with others, but have a hard time making friends, are more often bullied than those who prefer to play alone or who would play if approached.
Bullying is very serious problem, especially on children with ASD. Dr. Paul Law, director of the IAN project, said, "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."
Although I am not autistic, experiencing bullying in my childhood changed me into an introvert and socially awkward person. I remember seeing myself with a funny face surrounded by many friends in the photograph of my 7th birthday party, but since I was in the 2nd grade, I had been bullied, and had become to be afraid of talking to others and prefer to be alone. Bullying autistic children will surely make their situations worse, making them to keep themselves farther away from the social world. Therefore, people should be more aware of the problem, and educate their children to be considerate of their peers with ASD, and improve the policies to prevent victimizing people with autism.
This article is from Kennedy Krieger Institute website, a highly credible institution dedicated to helping children and adolescents with developmental disabilities through patient care, special education, research, and community programs. The institute is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitaion Facilities (CARF), and the State Department of Education.