Bullies always seem to target those who are different than them. Unfortunately, this often means that teens on the Autism Spectrum Disorder end up being an easy target. Many of these kids are already having a tough time fitting in as it is and then adding bullying to the mix can be extremely harmful for their self-esteem and mental health.
The National Autistic Society released that 40 percent of children with autism and and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s Syndrome report experiencing bullying- on and offline (Source).
Not only do they end up being bullied, but it’s also typical for them to be deceived into doing things that they normally wouldn’t do, simply because they want to fit in and be well-liked. As soon as they realize that they were only a pawn, it can be pretty devastating to them.
Another common scenario with teens with ASD is that they might believe another teen is bullying them when the child is actually just trying to talk or play with them. For example, they may see someone whispering something to someone and assume they are talking about them, when in reality they aren’t.
If you aren’t sure whether your autistic teen is being bullied, you can learn more about the warning signs here.
If you find that your child is being bullied, talk to your child and then talk to his/her school. Your teen will need lots of support and love so be sure to show that to him/her. Also, try to find other teens with similar interests who you can arrange playdates and other social activities with to help your child develop friendships. A supportive friendship can go a long way in helping a teen with ASD.
Join our movement and learn how you can help spread love and kindness, while reducing the risk of your teen becoming a victim of cyber-bullying or worse. Join our movement!