Autism and Bullying: The Numbers Don’t Lie.

For those of you who are not familiar with the name Paul Sterzing, he is a man who has greatly increased our understanding the correlation between the Bully and the Bullied. For those of you who do know who he is, his importance is obvious. For those of you who have been a victim of any form of bullying, or In case you missed, Paul Sterzing published a study on September 3rd showing that kids with ASD, or Autism are 30% more likely to be bullied or targeted than the normal population. According to the study, adolescents most vulnerable to bullying are those with a combination of autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and whose schooling takes place in a regular classroom where their social or conversational quirks may turn heads. Anything that sets the child apart from their peers is perfect ammunition for a bully.

Another major influence in bulling was if the child was LGBT.  “…nearly 40 percent of the LGBT youth he interviewed reported some form of emotional abuse: These were not foster kids, but kids in regular homes,” he says. “There’s a story to be told. It puts a fire in me.”What stood out in his research was the association between child abuse and neglect at home, and bullying victimization at school. “Victimization at home puts LGBT youth at risk for mental-health problems that impact their peer relationships and increase their likelihood of being bullied…”  (Berkeley). 

“The dynamics of bullying, whether you’re a perpetrator, victim or both, are complicated and multidimensional, Sterzing says, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t struggle to find solutions to this important public-health problem.We need to identify the reasons why some groups of kids are consistently more likely to be victimized than others,” Sterzing adds. “I want to help those most vulnerable to this form of peer aggression.”  Happily for Sterzing, the powerful reaction to his study suggests he’s on the right path.” (Berkeley)

It appears to be plain as day that there is substantial evidence linking mental illness to the bully. Remember, bullies hurt too. Bullying is merely the fear they hold inside turned outward towards other people. Now that does not make bullying ok, by any means, but it does mean that the bully needs help just as much as the bullied. The only way to truly help yourself, if to help other people…

Sources:

Study- http://socialwelfare.berkeley.edu/NewsEvents/sterzing_bullying_asd_report.shtml

Berkeley Article- http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/09/12/bullying/


Categories: Conflict & Anger Management , Developmental Disabilities , Social Skills & Fitting In
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