Autism and the problem of Bullying – Please help with this research study

Autism and Bullying Research
Autism and Bullying Research

Bullying is a common problem in school-age children, and children with special needs are victims of bullying more frequently than their typically developing peers. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be especially susceptible to victimization due to the social and communication deficits inherent to this disorder. Deficits in these areas can be especially problematic in social settings, such as school, as children with ASD may struggle to engage in social reciprocity, understand the perspective of others, or interpret nonliteral language. These difficulties may incite peers to engage in bullying behavior specifically directed towards children with ASD.

Researchers at the Institute for Child Development at Binghamton University (SUNY) are conducting a research study to learn more about perceptions of bullying in children with and without special needs. They have developed an anonymous online survey, which asks individuals to provide their perceptions of various scenarios describing interactions between two children. This research aims to better understand what bullying looks like in children with ASD, and also to understand potential differences between bullying in typically developing children. Findings will be useful to develop better assessment tools more specific to the experiences of children with ASD and will also inform more effective interventions to reduce bullying in this population.

The principal investigator for this study, Hannah Morton, M.S., is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Binghamton University; she is also a sibling of an individual with ASD. Her research focuses on the experiences of children with ASD and their families, with a goal of understanding how these experiences may differ from typically developing children and place children with ASD at further disadvantage for success across home, school, and community settings. Better understanding of bullying and other experiences can then be used to intervene and provide additional supports for children with special needs (e.g., ASD).

Morton and colleagues are currently recruiting participants for this anonymous online survey, specifically looking for parents of children with special needs (e.g., ASD), as well as educators and service providers for children with special needs. Parents of typically-developing children or individuals who do not have children are also welcome to participate. Participation will take up to 40 minutes, and participants may choose to be entered into a drawing for one of five, $50 gift cards. This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Binghamton University.

Please click the survey link below to participate or email with any questions.