Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

Bullying and Autism












National Autism Association
Ability Path
Stop Bullying
Bully Police, State-By-State Law Listing
Bullying Prevention
Kids Against Bullying
Stop Bullying Now!
Suicide Prevention
Wrights Law
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Bullying can take many forms, but whether it is physical or psychological, bullying involves an imbalance of power. Students with autism spectrum disorders often lack social cognition and ability to take someone else’s perspective making them prime targets for bullies, especially in early adolescence. The impact of bullying can be profound and debilitating. A growing problem nationwide in schools and other public places, bullying is a serious matter and adults must remain alert and intervene if they believe their child is being victimized.


MANIPULATIVE: Where a child is coerced and controlled
CONDITIONAL FRIENDSHIP: Friendship alternated with bullying behavior
EXPLOITIVE: Features of a child’s condition are used to bully via
technology/social media


  • Verbal aggression including derogatory comments, name-calling, and taunting
  • Social exclusion or isolation
  • Physical aggression such as hitting, kicking, shoving, and spitting
  • Spreading lies and false rumors
  • Having money or other things taken or damaged by the aggressor
  • Being threatened or being forced to do things by the aggressor
  • Racial bullying
  • Sexual bullying
  • Cyber bullying (via cell phone or Internet)


  • The bully
  • The victim
  • The bystanders
  • Teachers and other professionals
  • Administrators, legislators, policy makers
  • Parents/caregivers


  • Reluctance to attend school
  • Emotionally sensitive behavior; anxiety
  • Change in daily routines, i.e. diet or sleeping patterns
  • Torn clothing, damaged books or other items
  • Cuts or bruises
  • Decline in academic performance



Research shows children with disabilities are two to three times more likely be bullied than their non-disabled peers. Children on the spectrum are even more vulnerable due to differences in communication skills, motor skills and social cognition. A move to inclusive instructional settings can be a double-edged sword as students struggle to truly “belong” with their peers. It’s important for adults to help students learn how to deal with bullies while they are young. They need to gain these vital self-advocacy skills to avoid situations with adult bullying when offenses and consequences can be much more serious.

But studies show the responsibility shouldn’t just lie with the victim. Successful practices are those that create environments of respect and tolerance throughout schools. Bullying must become unacceptable in the school culture so that instances are rare rather than common. Adults must learn how to recognize the signs of bullying, what’s worked and hasn’t worked in school settings, and how to advocate for their children.

A 2009 survey on bullying revealed the following:

  • 65% of parents reported that their children with Asperger’s syndrome had been victimized by peers in some way within the past year
  • 47% reported that their children had been hit by peers or siblings
  • 50% reported them to be scared by their peers
  • 9% were attacked by a gang and hurt in the private parts
  • 12% indicated their child had never been invited to a birthday party
  • 6% were almost always picked last for teams
  • 3% ate alone at lunch every day

Source: Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing (2009)


Social and emotional learning (SEL) assists children in developing fundamental skills to effectively handle school, relationships, and personal development. High-quality SEL programs implemented in Illinois led to significant improvements in students’ social and emotional skills, in attitudes about self and others, and in classroom behavior. Programs were also associated with substantial decreases in conduct problems and emotional distress such as anxiety and depression—all of which are part of the bullying phenomenon.




  • School Climate Change
  • Safe ways to report (safety net programs)
  • Focus on all types of bullying (not just physical aggression)
  • Focus on role of bystanders
  • Peer support networks
  • Adults model supportive relationships
  • Active parent involvement

  • Individual counseling (for bully or victim)
  • Accepting bullying as normal
  • Focusing on only physical aggression
  • Zero tolerance policies
  • Isolated efforts (special auditorium events, lectures)
  • Stigmatizing victims
  • Adults model intimidation, anger, power

Source: What Works, What Doesn’t Work in Bullying Prevention Strategies. Michael B. Greene, Ph.D. Director, YCS Center for the Prevention of Violence.

A student portfolio is a great way to introduce your child to the team. Here’s some great guidelines for developing a portfolio that helps others see past the disability and promotes good relationships.

Source- National Autism Asscociation


What Laws Apply to Disability Harassment


Legal Obligations of the School. Guidance letter from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding bullying and disability harassment and the school’s obligation to properly consider whether student misconduct results in discriminatory harassment. (October 26, 2010)


Background, Summary, and Fact Sheet. Harassment and Bullying Guidance Letter (October 26, 2010).


Prohibited Disability Harassment, letter from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education. Disability harassment can have a profound impact on students, raise safety concerns, and erode efforts to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the myriad benefits that an education offers.


“States and school districts also have a responsibility under Section 504, Title II, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is enforced by OSERS, to ensure that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is made available to eligible students with disabilities. Disability harassment may result in a denial of FAPE under these statutes. Parents may initiate administrative due process procedures under IDEA, Section 504, or Title II to address a denial of FAPE, including a denial that results from disability harassment. Individuals and organizations also may file complaints with OCR, alleging a denial of FAPE that results from disability harassment. In addition, an individual or organization may file a complaint alleging a violation of IDEA under separate procedures with the state educational agency. State compliance with IDEA, including compliance with FAPE requirements, is monitored by OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).” Read the letter.


State Laws on Bullying. Some states and the District of Columbia have NO laws on bullying. Find out if your state does. Check the map.


State Anti-Bulllying Policies: A National Landscape. This presentation outlines anti-bullying policies in the 50 states and D.C.





A National Survey on Bullying and Autism Spectrum Disorders


Researchers are collecting data on bullying and ASD.


Published on October 24, 2011 by Faith Brynie in Brain Sense
On October 18, the Interactive Autism Network (IAN Project) launched a national survey  to study the impact of bullying on children with autismspectrum disorders (ASD). Bullying, a pervasive problem among youth, has attracted the national spotlight in recent months because of the lasting, and sometimes tragic, effects on children and teenagers across the country. Children with ASD are believed to be especially vulnerableFrom this new survey, researchers hope to answer such questions as

  • How does bullying affect children with ASD?
  • Compared to typically developing children, how frequently are children with ASD bullied?
  • How often do bullies purposely trigger an affected child’s “meltdown”?
  • What, if any, anti-bullying strategies are in place in schools, and do they make a difference for children with ASD?

“We hear so often from parents that children with ASD are easily targeted by bullies,” said Dr. Paul Law, Director of the IAN Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “We want to hear from thousands of parents of children with ASD so that we can help policymakers and educators understand the extent of this problem and give the autism community a voice in our national conversation on bullying.”

Families of children with ASD, ages 6 through 15, are encouraged to take part in the “Bullying and School Experiences of Children with ASD Survey” whether or not their child has been bullied so that researchers can assess a wide range of experiences, make comparisons, and evaluate risk factors. Survey participants must have a child with ASD and be enrolled in the IAN Research project. To enroll, visit


Synopsis: 2001 Ill. Public Act 92-060, H.B. 646  Requires school boards, in consultation with parent-teacher advisory committees and other community-based organizations, to include provisions in student discipline policies to address students who have demonstrated behaviors that put them at risk for aggressive behavior, including bullying, as defined in the policy.  Requires these provisions to include procedures for notifying parents or legal guardians and early intervention procedures based upon available community-based and district resources.

2001 Ill. Public Act 92-96, S.B. 1026 Provides that whoever by threat, menace or intimidation prevents a child entitled to attend a public or nonpublic school from attending that school or interferes with the child’s attendance at that school is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

A Cyberbullying law passed in May 2008, bringing a C- law up to a solid C.  (When Illinois updates their law in the future, adding what’s missing, having a cyberbullying component will add a “+” on their A Grade.)  The article from The Associated Press is below

SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois measure that would criminalize Internet bullying is in Governor Rod Blagojevich’s hands.   The state House signed off on the bill Thursday. It outlaws the use of the Internet to harass someone and specifically bars the posting of threatening comments on Web sites or online message boards.   The legislation is in response to the case of a 13-year-old Missouri girl who hanged herself in 2006 after receiving cruel messages via MySpace.   Violations would be punishable by up to one year in prison for a first offense and up to three years for a second. 

2010 – Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the School Code. In provisions concerning bullying prevention, makes changes concerning the criteria for bullying, the written policy on bullying that schools must adopt (including posting requirements), and implementation of the written policy. Requires that schools maintain records concerning any bullying incidents. Adds provisions concerning criminal and civil immunity for specified parties. Adds provisions concerning gang resistance education and training for students. Amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. Effective immediately.


SB 3266 – (2010)

AN ACT concerning education.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The School Code is amended by changing Section
27-23.7 and by adding Sections 27-23.9 and 27-23.10 as follows:

(105 ILCS 5/27-23.7)
Sec. 27-23.7. Bullying prevention

(a) The General Assembly finds that a safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve and that bullying causes physical, psychological, and emotional harm to students and interferes with students’ ability to learn and participate in school activities.The General Assembly further finds that bullying has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, using drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Because of the negative outcomes associated with bullying in schools, the General Assembly finds that school districts and non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools should educate students, parents, and school district or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school personnel about what behaviors constitute prohibited bullying.

Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in all school districts and 12  non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools. No student shall be subjected to bullying:
(1) during any school-sponsored education program or activity;
(2) while in school, on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities; or
(3) through the transmission of information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment.

(b) In this Section: “Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
(2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
(3) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
(4) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Bullying, as defined in this subsection (b), may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.

“School personnel” means persons employed by, on contract with, or who volunteer in a school district or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school, including without limitation school and school district administrators, teachers, school guidance counselors, school social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, school resource officers, and security guards.

(c)   Blank

(d) Each school district and non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school shall 
create and maintain a policy on bullying, which policy must be filed with the State Board of Education. Each school district and non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school  must communicate its policy on bullying to its students and their parent or guardian on an annual basis. The policy must be updated every 2 years and filed with the State Board of Education after being updated. The State Board of Education shall monitor the implementation of policies created under this subsection (d).

(e) This Section shall not be interpreted to prevent a victim from seeking redressunder any other available civil or criminal law. Nothing in this Section is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or under Section 3 or 4 of Article 1 of the Illinois Constitution.

(Source: P.A. 94-937, eff. 6-26-06; 95-198, eff. 1-1-08; 95-349, eff. 8-23-07; 95-876, eff. 8-21-08.)

(105 ILCS 5/27-23.9 new)
(Section scheduled to be repealed on March 2, 2011)
Sec. 27-23.9. School Bullying Prevention Task Force.

(a) In this Section, “Task Force” means the School Bullying Prevention Task Force.
(b) The Task Force is created and charged with exploring the causes and consequences of bullying in schools in this State, identifying promising practices that reduce incidences of bullying, highlighting training and technical assistance opportunities for schools to effectively address bullying, evaluating the effectiveness of schools’ current anti-bullying policies and other bullying prevention programs, and other related issues.
(c) Within 60 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly, the State Superintendent of Education shall appoint 15 members to the Task Force. The membership of the Task Force shall include representatives of State agencies whose work includes bullying prevention or intervention; statewide organizations that focus on violence or bullying prevention or intervention; teachers and management personnel from at least 3 school districts; academics who conduct research on bullying, its consequences to students in grades K through 12, or effective strategies for preventing or addressing bullying; a current high school or college student who has experienced bullying; and others at the State Superintendent’s discretion. Members of the Task Force shall serve without compensation.
(d) The State Board of Education shall provide technical assistance for the work of the Task Force.
(e) No later than March 1, 2011, the Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly on any recommendations for preventing and addressing bullying in
schools in this State and a proposed timeline for meeting the Task Force’s charges identified in this Section.
(f) This Section is repealed on March 2, 2011.


(105 ILCS 5/27-23.10 new)
Sec. 27-23.10. Gang resistance education and training.

(a) The General Assembly finds that the instance of youth delinquent gangs continues to rise on a statewide basis. Given the higher rates of criminal offending among gang members, as well as the availability of increasingly lethal weapons, the level of criminal activity by gang members has taken on new importance for law enforcement agencies, schools, the community, and prevention efforts.
(b) As used in this Section: “Gang resistance education and training” means and includes instruction in, without limitation, each of the following subject matters when accompanied by a stated objective of reducing gang activity and educating children in grades K through 12 about the consequences of gang involvement:
(1) conflict resolution;
(2) cultural sensitivity;
(3) personal goal setting; and
(4) resisting peer pressure.
(c) Each school district and non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school in this State may make suitable provisions for instruction in gang resistance education and training in all grades and include that instruction in the courses of study regularly taught in those grades. For the purposes of gang resistance education and training, a school board or the governing body of a non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school must collaborate with State and  local law enforcement agencies. The State Board of Education may assist in the development of instructional materials and teacher training in relation to gang resistance education and training.

Section 90. The State Mandates Act is amended by adding
Section 8.34 as follows: (30 ILCS 805/8.34 new)
Sec. 8.34. Exempt mandate. Notwithstanding Sections 6 and 8 of this Act, no reimbursement by the State is required for the implementation of any mandate created by this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly.

Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.

2001 Ill. Public Act 92-060, H.B. 646
 1        AN ACT with regard to schools.
2        Be it  enacted  by  the  People  of  the  State  of  Illinois,
3    represented in the General Assembly:
4        Section  5.  The  School  Code  is  amended  by  changing
5    Section 10-20.14 as follows:

6        (105 ILCS 5/10-20.14) (from Ch. 122, par. 10-20.14)
7        Sec.      10-20.14.  Student     discipline     policies;
8    Parent-teacher advisory committee.
9        (a)  To establish and maintain a parent-teacher  advisory
10    committee  to develop with the school board policy guidelines
11    on pupil discipline, including school searches, to furnish  a
12    copy  of  the policy to the parents or guardian of each pupil
13    within 15 days after the beginning of  the  school  year,  or
14    within  15  days  after  starting  classes  for  a  pupil who
15    transfers into the district during the school  year,  and  to
16    require  that  each school informs its pupils of the contents
17    of its policy.  School boards, along with the  parent-teacher
18    advisory  committee,  are encouraged to annually review their
19    pupil  discipline  policies,  the  implementation  of   those
20    policies,  and  any  other  factors  related to the safety of
21    their schools, pupils, and staff.
22        (b)  The parent-teacher advisory committee in cooperation
23    with local law enforcement agencies shall develop,  with  the
24    school  board,  policy  guideline procedures to establish and
25    maintain a reciprocal reporting  system  between  the  school
26    district   and   local  law  enforcement  agencies  regarding
27    criminal offenses committed by students.
28        (c)  The   parent-teacher    advisory    committee,    in
29    cooperation  with  school  bus personnel, shall develop, with
30    the school board, policy guideline  procedures  to  establish
31    and  maintain school bus safety procedures.  These procedures

HB0646 Enrolled            -2-                 LRB9203859NTsb
1    shall be incorporated into the  district’s  pupil  discipline
2    policy.
3        (d)  The   school   board,   in   consultation  with  the
4    parent-teacher advisory committee and  other  community-based
5    organizations,   must   include  provisions  in  the  student
 6    discipline policy to address students who  have  demonstrated
 7    behaviors  that  put  them at risk for aggressive  behavior,
 8    including without limitation  bullying,  as  defined  in  the
9    policy.    These  provisions  must  include  procedures  for
10    notifying parents or legal guardians and  early  intervention
11    procedures  based upon available community-based and district
12    resources.
13    (Source: P.A. 91-272, eff. 1-1-00.)


2001 Ill. Public Act 92-96, S.B. 1026
SB1026 Enrolled                                LRB9208154NTsb

1        AN ACT relating to schools.
2        Be it enacted by the People of  the  State  of  Illinois,
3    represented in the General Assembly:
4        Section  5.   The  School  Code  is  amended  by changing
5    Section 22-12 as follows:

6        (105 ILCS 5/22-12) (from Ch. 122, par. 22-12)
7        Sec. 22-12. Preventing  or  interfering  with  a  child’s
 8    attendance   at   school.   Whoever  by  threat,  menace,  or
 9    intimidation prevents any child entitled to attend  a  public
10    or  nonpublic school in this State from attending such school
11    or interferes with any such child’s attendance at that school
12    shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
13    (Source: P.A. 89-610, eff. 8-6-96.)

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