According to a recent study, students who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are more prone to experiencing bullying among their peers and even from authority figures than are children who do not have this diagnosis.

While this may not come as a surprise, the study also concluded that, for those students with ASD, bullying, or at least the perception of it, gets more severe as they get older.

The study also underscored the need for more precise definitions of what is and is not bullying behavior. The study had a number of people exam, at random, 16 role-plays showing two children or teens interacting with each other. There were 80 role-plays overall, and, of them, 64 showed examples of some type or degree of what the authors of the study considered bullying behavior.

However, the results of the study showed some notable, albeit subtle, disagreement among the participants as to what is truly bullying.

When it comes to Alabama parents and schools, this study illustrates a couple of important points. For one, students with autism and related conditions, particularly as they age, will need protections from bullying. As our blog has reported before, school districts in the Mobile area have a legal obligation to provide some of these protections.

Likewise, it is incumbent on the area’s schools to decide what behavior they will and will not tolerate and to make those expectations crystal clear to students, faculty and parents. After all, to some extent, a nebulous or ambiguous concept of bullying is the same as having no policy against bullying at all.

Alabama parents who have children that are struggling with bullying may have legal and other options available to them.