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19 December 2012
Responding to the University of Manchester's findings that children with autism are more likely to be bullied and experience mental health difficulties, Amanda Batten, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society (NAS), said:
“63% of children and young people with autism who responded to a recent NAS survey said they have experienced bullying. This figure rose to 82% for those with Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism.
“What's more, 20% said they have no friends, yet 50% said they would like more friends.
“The results of our survey echo the University of Manchester's findings, in highlighting the very real struggle young people with autism can face in forming relationships with their school age contemporaries.
“The impact of bullying can be devastating on children with autism. 83% of parents whose child had been bullied reported a negative impact on their child's self-esteem and 63% said that the bullying led to their child developing mental health difficulties.
“We need to see a school system that supports young people with autism both academically and emotionally. If this does not happen, a whole generation of vulnerable young people are in danger of growing up with preventable mental health problems, which could negatively impact on the rest of their lives.”