Bullying is no longer accepted as a “kids will be kids” rite of passage and educators are dedicated to stopping it in all its forms, especially when the target is a student with a disability like autism. But the battle against bullying continues.
A study by the Interactive Autism Network found that 63 percent of 1,167 children with autism aged 6-15 had been bullied at some point in their lives. “Sadly,” the report states, “one group that was frequently bullied was children with ASD who wanted to interact with other children but had a hard time making friends. The advocacy group Autism Speaks has many resources on how we can help address bullying of students with autism and make their schools lives healthier, happier and more productive.
Thomas Frazier, Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer, is a clinical psychologist and autism researcher whose son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was two years old. NEA Today spoke with Frazier about this troubling trend and what we can do about it.