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In this qualitative study, we explored the perspectives of 10 adolescents with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their experiences of bullying. Through individual semistructured interviews, they were asked to describe their understandings and experiences of bullying. Details of their experiences are described as well as the perceived impact on the students and their schooling. Data analysis revealed a number of common experiences including high rates of traditional bullying and more specifically verbal bullying, with fewer incidents of cyberbullying reported. In support of literature in the area, the results of the study indicate that bullying can be a significant inhibitor, which may prevent students with ASD from taking full advantage of their schooling. Listening to and reflecting on the voices and personal stories of adolescent students with ASD is critically important for developing more supportive approaches to their education and needs. The reports of bullying by students on the autism spectrum emphasises the need for more effective interventions and management strategies to be implemented in a whole-school approach as well as targeted strategies to prevent bullying experiences for this particular population of students.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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