Involvement in Bullying among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Parents' Perspectives on the Influence of School Factors
by Benjamin Zablotsky, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Connie Anderson, and Paul Law
Involvement in Bullying among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Parents' Perspectives on the Influence of School Factors.
Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Catherine P. Bradshaw
Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Connie Anderson and Paul Law
Kennedy Krieger Institute
ABSTRACT: Children with developmental disabilities are at an increased risk for involvement in bullying, and children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may be at particular risk because of challenges with social skills and difficulty maintaining friendships, yet there has been little empirical research on involvement in bullying among children with ASD. The current study presents findings from a cross-sectional national survey of 1,221 parents of children with ASDs regarding their children's experience with bullying (as both a victim and a perpetrator), as well as the parents'perceptions of the school and their involvement in school-based prevention efforts. Structural equation modeling analyses revealed parents rate their child's school climate more negatively if their children had been bullied in the past month. Parents who viewed the school more positively were more likely to be involved in their child's school. These findings highlight the potential role a positive school climate may play in protecting children with ASDs from the harmful effects of bullying, as well as the potential benefits of involving parents in school-based activities. Moreover,the current study identifies children with Asperger's to be at particular risk for being bullied when compared with children with other ASDs.