Bullying and Asperger Syndrome


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A presentation about bullying and Aspergers, and some strategies that can be used to counter it.

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Bullying and Asperger Syndrome

  1. 1. Issues and Implications for Students with Asperger Syndrome BULLYING
  2. 2. <ul><li>Intentional, repeated behaviour by an individual or group of individuals that causes distress, hurt or undue pressure. </li></ul><ul><li>It involves the abuse of power in relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Can involve all forms of harassment (including sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender), humiliation, domination, intimidation and victimisation of others. </li></ul><ul><li>NSWDET Anti-Bullying Plan, 2007 </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Mutual conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No imbalance of power present </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social rejection or exclusive friendships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unless accompanied by malicious intent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Single-episode or random acts of aggression or intimidation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not repeatedly target a victim </li></ul></ul>Adapted from McGrath, H. & Noble, T. (2006). Bullying Solutions: Evidence-based approaches to bullying in Australian schools. Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Education.
  4. 4. <ul><li>Decreased academic performance </li></ul><ul><li>Low psychological wellbeing </li></ul><ul><li>Poor social adjustment </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological distress </li></ul><ul><li>Suicide </li></ul><ul><li> (Rigby, 2003; Whitney, Smith & Thompson, 1994) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Bullying of students in general population </li></ul><ul><li>One in every six or seven Australian children report being bullied (Rigby, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying of students with special needs </li></ul><ul><li>Between 5% and 25% more likely to be bullied than their peers (O’Moore & Hillery, 1989; Nabuzoka & Smith, 1993) </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying of students with Asperger Syndrome </li></ul><ul><li>94% of students bullied or victimised (Heinrichs, 2003) </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Social naivety </li></ul><ul><li>Impaired use of non-verbal behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of social and emotional reciprocity </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to identify social cues and conventions </li></ul><ul><li>Poor organisation and self-regulation </li></ul><ul><li>“ Quirks” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unusual speech prosody </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intensity of interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motor clumsiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sensory issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many of these traits run parallel to those displayed by passive and provocative bullying targets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapted from Attwood (2004) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Theoretical basis – bullying occurs within an ecological framework
  8. 8. A three-tiered, whole school approach with collaborative processes designed to enhance protective factors for students with Asperger Syndrome.
  9. 9. <ul><li>Playground mapping - surveys to determine “safe” and “unsafe” areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Provision of supervised activity room to “escape” playground. </li></ul><ul><li>Thorough investigation of all conflict situations involving students with AS to determine if covert bullying has occurred. </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation of a buddying system that pairs up potential targets with students of a higher social status. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Prime opportunity to develop a social support network to act as a “protective factor” for students with AS. </li></ul><ul><li>Model behaviour that values differences and contributions of all students – promoting socially-valued strengths of students with AS. </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying prevention programs most successful when woven into the curriculum – both explicit and incidental teaching. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities to empower students with the skills necessary to intervene in bullying situations. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of cooperative learning strategies to break down barriers between students. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Using coaching and behaviour rehearsal to create a “scripted” bullying response such as “I don’t like that. Stop it” or more age appropriate scripts. </li></ul><ul><li>Explicitly teaching support-seeking strategies and guided identification of peers who are “safe”. </li></ul><ul><li>Resilience and assertiveness training. </li></ul><ul><li>These and other strategies can be taught through social stories, bibliotherapy, role playing or comic strip conversations. </li></ul><ul><li>Assisting students to “tone down” behaviours that may cause them to be picked on, without affecting “who they are”. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Clip One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_PBVxGEEY4 </li></ul><ul><li>Clip Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UviCfQC8Uzk </li></ul><ul><li>Clip Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boEuFeDO8Ow </li></ul><ul><li>What attributes does Reuben have that may make him prone to bullying? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some strengths of Reuben that could be socially valued? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any other points of interest that you found in this clip? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Questions and Answers