Every autistic child and young person has individual needs and abilities. Spending time getting to know your autistic pupil and their individual profile will be crucial, as behaviours and support strategies vary from child to child.
In this guide you will find information about what bullying is, why autistic students are more likely to be bullied, and how you can help.
What is bullying?
The is no definition of bullying in legislation. Anti-bullying organisations suggest that bullying could involve:
making fun or teasing
ignoring or leaving out
threatening or humiliating
pushing, pulling, hitting, kicking or other physical acts
taking or interfering with money or other items
The internet and mobile phones mean bullying can now happen both during the school day and out of school hours. Online or cyber bullying includes bullying via text messages, emails, websites, online gaming, instant messaging and social networks.
Why are autistic pupils more likely to be bullied?
Autistic people can be more vulnerable to bullies because they may:
have difficulty communicating and lack the expected social skills
find it harder to predict other people's behaviour, interpret body language or facial expressions and guess what they’re thinking or feeling
display distressed behaviour or behaviour that isn’t understood such as stimming
find it hard to form and maintain friendships, leaving them socially isolated
Bullying can lead to an increase in anxiety at school and school refusal.
How to help autistic pupils
Here are some ways you can help:
teach autism awareness and acceptance
provide support during unstructured times such as break and lunch times