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Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as:
“Unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance and the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”
There are three types of bullying: verbal, social, and physical. All three types of bullying can have serious, long-lasting effects on children. Therefore, it is important to teach children the appropriate strategies to deal with a bullying situation should they ever encounter one.
Bullying and Autism
For a number of reasons, children with disabilities are more likely to be bullied than their peers. Current research suggests that Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are three times more likely to be bullied and left out than their same-aged peers (Twyman et al., 2010). Many people feel that this number is actually much higher, as autism is characterized by an inability to read social cues. In order to report that you are being bullied, you need to first understand that you are being bullied. Students with autism are not always aware that their peers are targeting them.
Why is bullying such a serious issue?
Children who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Many of the symptoms associated with these issues can even persist into adulthood. Additionally, many students who are bullied experience decreased academic achievement and are more likely to miss school.
What can parents do:
1. Be Proactive: Prepare the school
Stop Bullying on the Spot. https://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/on-the-spot/index.html
Education@usdoj.gov, B. E. How To File A Complaint. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/#three
National Autism Association - Autism Safety Initiative - Our mission is providing resources, education, advocacy, awareness and support - Bullying - 5 Things Parents Can Do. (n.d.). http://www.autismsafety.org/bullying-tips.php
Szalavitz, M., & Szalavitz, M. (n.d.). Why Autistic Kids Make Easy Targets for School Bullies | TIME.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/05/why-autistic-kids-make-easy-targets-for-school-bullies/
Courtney Chase is a graduate student at Lesley University studying clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in school adjustment counseling. She is currently interning as a school counselor at Atlantic Middle School in Quincy, MA. Her primary role as a school adjustment counselor is to help facilitate the academic and social success of each unique learner. She helps each student identify individualized goals and strategies for success and promotes the realization of these goals by supporting the student through his or her educational journey.