Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clinic Notes: Asperger's and Bullies

All of the children with an Asperger's diagnosis that I see in my clinic are mainstreamed. And that's good until Middle School when testosterone kicks in at puberty and bullying starts. It's like kids with Asperger's have a target on their back that says bully me. Of course other kids besides Asperger's kids are bullied, but for kids with Asperger's it is especially bad because they don't understand social behavior much less anti social behavior. I was especially glad to see that the American Academy of Pediatrics is publishing a policy statement on bullying and recommending a prevention model developed in Norway by Dan Olweus. The Olweus program focuses on the bystanders rather than the bully or the victim. The bystanders are taught that the bully has an anger management problem and they can protect the victim. Hopefully schools will adopt this model and provide training to stop bullying of children with Asperger's as well as the other ¼ surveyed who say they have at times been bullied.