High-Functioning Children with ASD in Public Schools Are More Likely to Be Bullied

September 19, 2022

New Study Examines Neurodevelopmental Disorders and the Risk of Bullying Exposure

Children with a diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) are more often bullied than neurotypical children. Exposure to bullying can cause both emotional and behavioral challenges. The aim of a newly published study was to understand which factors may modify the relationship between NDDs and the risk of being bullied. To achieve this goal, the research team extracted data for 71,800 children from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) 2016-2017. Diagnoses included in the NSCH were established per parental report. The authors compared different types of NDDs to the risk of bullying exposure. The NDDs investigated included autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome, learning disability, intellectual disability, and epilepsy. Other factors like special health care needs (SHCN), adverse childhood experience, and sociodemographic factors were also analyzed. Results showed that children with ASD and ADHD had the largest association with bullying exposure. SHCN, adverse childhood experience, and disadvantaged neighborhoods were also linked to a higher risk of being bullied. Older age was associated with a lower risk of bullying for some children. However, the analysis showed that older children with ASD (age 12-17 years) were more likely to be bullied than younger children with ASD (6-11 years). Additionally, disadvantaged neighborhoods and lack of SHCN further increased the association of ASD with the risk of bullying exposure. The link between bullying exposure and ADHD was not changed by any sociodemographic factors, neighborhood-related features, or SHCN. Consistent with previous findings, the current study showed that children with high-functioning ASD who attend public schools are more likely to be bullied than other children with ASD. 

Original Study

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons