Almost half of teens with autism bullied: study

By Andrew M. Seaman Reuters

New York (Reuters Health) – Close to half of all teenagers with an autism spectrum disorder are bullied at school, says a survey of their parents. The results, published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, suggest that rate is much higher than the estimated 11 percent of bullied kids in the general population.

Previous studies have found kids and teens who are bullied tend to be more depressed, lonely and anxious and do worse in school than those who aren’t picked on, according to the researchers. That means bullying could make things extra difficult for those with autism, who may already struggle more in school than other kids.

The researchers say the findings suggest schools should target their anti-bullying campaigns toward the more vulnerable populations, such as children with autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“I would argue that the bullying interventions that we’re using now, if not tailored, are ineffective,” said Paul R. Sterzing, the study’s lead author from the University of California, Berkley.

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