With Anti-Bullying Week just around the corner, a new survey of parents, carers and teachers suggests that the majority of children with autism at mainstream school have suffered from bullying, and that schools are failing to deal with the problem.
The online survey, sponsored by author and autism campaigner Anna Kennedy, generated over 900 responses from across the UK. It found that 61 per cent of respondents reported that their child had been bullied at school as a result of their autism. Moreover, 73 per cent of these respondents said that the school had handled their child’s bullying badly or that the problem had been ignored.
Calling the survey’s findings “a national scandal”, Mrs Kennedy argued that the Government is not doing enough to support children with autism and their families. “I realise the Government is cutting back on everything at the moment”, she said, “but this problem is a real time bomb…If we don’t do something now we will face much higher costs in the future when we have to care for those with ASC (autistic spectrum conditions).”
Anti-Bullying Week starts on Monday 14 November. Organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), a coalition of over 130 members from the voluntary, public and private sectors, the theme of this year’s campaign, “Stop and think – words can hurt”, focuses on verbal bullying.
A briefing pack, containing information, advice and resources for those living and working with young people, is available at: