If you work in a mainstream or special needs school, you will inevitably come across instances of bullying from time to time.
Why are students with autism more at risk of being bullied?
Children with autism can find it hard to predict other people's behaviour, interpret their body language or facial expressions and to guess what they are thinking or feeling. This makes it difficult to understand other people’s intentions, and makes them an easy target for bullies.
They may also prefer to spend time alone, struggle to form friendships, and have difficulty 'fitting in' and being part of the crowd. This can also make them vulnerable to bullying.
How can you help students with autism who are being bullied?
One of the best ways to help children with autism feel accepted in school is by increasing understanding of the condition amongst their peers and teachers.
Our guide, Bullying and autism spectrum disorders: a guide for school staff, provides strategies and ideas for promoting understanding of autism among staff and pupils, tackling and reducing bullying incidents and supporting pupils with autism who have been bullied.
Download Being me, a free anti-bullying classroom resource that seeks to celebrate difference and promote inclusion by giving young people in years 5-8 an invaluable insight into the potential challenges being faced by their peers.
The Autism Education Trust (AET)'s Tools for Teachers includes a collection of resources which can be used in the classroom to raise awareness of autism.