For young adolescents on the autism spectrum, bullying can be a huge problem. Bullying is completely unacceptable and extremely damaging to the victim. It must be stopped. Identifying whether or not your child is experiencing bullying at school is crucial to their emotional and physical well being.
Easy targets for bullying
A 2012 study found that kids on the autism spectrum are five times more likely to be bullied than others not on the spectrum. In the study, 46 percent of middle school and high school kids on the autism spectrum reported being bullied at some point in their lives compared to 10 percent reported in the general school population.
Children on the autism spectrum oftentimes do not recognize social cues and might have difficulty expressing themselves through language. This makes them an easy target for bullying by other children who do not understand them.
For generations, some parts of the population had no exposure to people with special needs. Because of this, they developed a fear of people different from them, and passed it on to their children.
Forms of Bullying
There are three forms of bullying to watch out for if your child is on the autism spectrum:
- Manipulative: In manipulative bullying, kids on the autism spectrum are forced to perform actions they do not want to perform.
- Conditional friendship: In conditional friendship, friendly behavior is alternated with bullying.
- Exploitive: In exploitive bullying, kids record the behavior of a child on the autism spectrum and put it on social media or some form of technology.
Children on the autism spectrum might unintentionally bully others, while simultaneously being bullied themselves. One study found that 20 percent of kids on the autism spectrum bullied. They might not know that their actions are causing others suffering, and most reports involve children confusing social cues and bullying others because of that.
Signs of bullying
Identifying when your child, on the autism spectrum, is being bullied is the first step in combatting bullying. Signs of bullying include:
- Anxiety towards attending school
- Torn clothing, damaged books
- Acting stressed, depressed, sad
- Not being able to concentrate on schoolwork
- Decline in academic performance
How to help
If your child is on the autism spectrum and they are expressing disruptive symptoms because of bullying, such as depression or a lack of interest in school, sending them to a residential treatment center might help.
Seven Stars is a residential treatment center with a program specifically designed to help young teens on the autism spectrum. We help our students find their strengths, building on previous successes through positivity.
For more information on how we can help your child on the autism spectrum, please call us at 844-601-1167.