The study below is not directly related to autism but when the press release showed up in my inbox I knew I had to write about it.
In a fact sheet put out as part of this study, it is pointed out that “Some of the factors associated with a higher likelihood of victimization include:”
• Friendship difficulties
• Poor self-esteem
• Perceived by peers as different or quiet
Pretty clearly, the autistic community is at a higher risk for bullying. And, per the press release, “The panel looked at the latest research that examined youth involvement in bullying as a victim, perpetrator, or both and found them to be highly associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.”
Having recently seen some pretty horrible anti-acceptance images I feel compelled to make this statement: yes, the portrayal of autism by many parent advocates contributes to bullying. If we don’t accept our own children, with their differences and disabilities, if we promote a message that our children and adults like them are not to be accepted, we contribute many problems, bullying being one. Yes, I understand the argument that when some reject acceptance “it’s the autism not the person”. I reject that logic. It’s damaging the way we as parents often portray our kids. It contributes to bullying, and bullying contributes to many bad outcomes.
Here is the press release:
CDC findings show higher suicide-related behaviors among youth involved in bullying
What: The Journal of Adolescent Health released a special issue focusing for the first time on the relationship between bullying and suicide. The special issue was assembled by an expert panel brought together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel looked at the latest research that examined youth involvement in bullying as a victim, perpetrator, or both and found them to be highly associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The panel also examined the association of youth involved in bullying who experience suicide-related behaviors and other risk factors for suicide, such as depression, delinquency, physical and sexual abuse, and exposure to violence.
The special issue includes the following:
1. Bullying and Suicide: A Public Health Approach (editorial)
2. Precipitating Circumstances of Suicide Among Youth Aged 10–17 Years by Sex: Data From the National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2005–2008
3. Acutely Suicidal Adolescents Who Engage in Bullying Behavior: 1-Year Trajectories
4. Suicidal Adolescents’ Experiences With Bullying Perpetration and Victimization during High School as Risk Factors for Later Depression and Suicidality
5. Psychological, Physical, and Academic Correlates of Cyberbullying and Traditional Bullying
6. Suicidal Thinking and Behavior Among Youth Involved in Verbal and Social Bullying: Risk and Protective Factors
7. Potential Suicide Ideation and Its Association With Observing Bullying at School
8. Inclusive Anti-bullying Policies and Reduced Risk of Suicide Attempts in Lesbian and Gay Youth