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The Most Vulnerable, The Most Victimized: Bullying Rates Higher for Youths with Autism
According to a new study, adolescents with autism are 4 times more likely to be on the receiving end of bullying than their peers. Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, NY comments.
The results of this study, published early this month in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, show that a staggering 46.3% of adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have been bullied as compared with 11% of bullied kids in the general population.
Neil Pollack, Executive Director of Anderson Center for Autism, New York State’s premiere autism treatment facility, says this maltreatment of already vulnerable youths is a serious cause for concern.
“No one should suffer the devastating effects of bullying,” he says, “and people with autism – young or old – are even more likely to be the target of such victimization. This kind of trauma can have grave consequences for these people.”
The study’s lead researchers also say that students with autism who are in mainstream classrooms are even more susceptible to being picked on. They say that does not, however, mean that individuals with autism should be separated. Instead, schools need to do a better job of integrating these kids.
That is one of the core values held by Anderson Center for Autism. Their staff provides schools with a range of consultation services – including training, program design, professional instruction, etc. Their consultation services focus on working side by side with school districts to support the needs of classrooms, teachers and students. Anderson Center has designed this program to empower all who surround, teach and live with individuals on the spectrum by providing effective education, training and treatment.
Pollack says his institution believes it is their job to provide this kind of infrastructure for schools, service providers and individuals
“It’s crucial that we get in there and help. Maybe if the adults we train reach out to the bullies, make them understand what these individuals with autism are dealing with, they won’t look at them as ‘different’
Anderson Center has always worked to eradicate bullying. The center has worked in collaboration with best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker, Jesse Saperstein. Saperstein was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. He says that he has been treated as a social pariah by members of the community who do not understand his disorder. He has since channeled his encounters with bullying into action. Saperstein is a leader in the anti-bullying movement. Anderson Center has donated a grant to Saperstein’s cause and continues to work against the bullying problem.
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Autism, part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. The disorder is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from mild to severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects as many as 1 in every 88 children in the United States. Therefore, it is estimated that 1.5 million Americans may be affected with autism.
About Anderson Center for Autism:
Anderson Center for Autism is New York’s premier autism treatment and care center. They are a non-profit organization located in picturesque Staatsburg, New York that is dedicated to providing the highest quality programs possible for both children and adults with autism and related developmental disabilities. They employ more than 700 specialists who are expertly trained to diagnose, treat and care for adults and children with autism.