Parents of autistic children reporting high bullying numbers

Sep 4, 2012, 5:28 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm

Nearly half of parents of autistic teenagers said their kids are being bullied at school, a survey said.

The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine said the figure of autistic students who reported bullying is much higher than the estimated 11 percent of kids in the general population who are being bullied.

“They don’t act as their typical peers do,” said Dr. Chris Smith of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. “Their social skills aren’t as good as their typical peers, there are many differences.”

SARRC has a program called Fostering Relationships in Early Network Development, or FRIENDS. Smith said the program gives autistic kids structured activities during times like recess, when a supervisor might not be around, that could help autistic teens interact better with other kids.

“We think what we call a collateral effect of this kind of program would be something that might help to reduce bullying,” said Smith, adding that bullying is a big problem and some schools do better than others in dealing with it.

Some may think the study that may be outdated because it used records from a 2001 survey of 920 parents of autistic teens, but Smith said bullying is still a big problem for autistic kids.

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Parents of autistic children reporting high bullying numbers