Sunday, January 13, 2013

Study: Children with autism experience high rates of bullying

A study published this month in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics finds that children with autism experience high rates of bullying.

As summarized by Michelle Diament for Disability Scoop:
“In what’s believed to be the largest look ever at autism and bullying, researchers found that 38 percent of children with the developmental disorder were bullied over a one-month period, in many cases repeatedly. What’s more, of those who were victims, 69 percent experienced emotional trauma and 8 percent were physically harmed as a result.”
According to the study’s senior author, Paul Law, not only are children with autism bullied more, but these children also experience significant short-term and long-term effects of being bullied.

Among the findings, as summarized on Disability Scoop:
“Children diagnosed with autism and psychiatric conditions like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were more likely to be victims of bullying, the study found. Meanwhile, kids with autism and conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder were more often bullies.”
According to Diamant, “The findings add to a growing body of evidence supporting concerns in the autism community that those on the spectrum are disproportionately affected by bullying.”

The body of evidence certainly bore out in my own K-12 experiences at Calistoga Elementary School and Calistoga Junior/Senior High School: I was physically and verbally abused and socially ostracized by the other children in school.

Effects of bullying made it difficult to trust people and recognize potential friendships. Even today, it is difficult to understand people laughing with me instead of at me.

When someone seems upset in my presence, I assume I am the cause.

There are also situations I refuse to place myself in. I object to certain civic groups publicly fining members for transgressions that seem capricious and invented. In spite of the recognized good these organizations do, I have no intention of joining one.

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