Autism Toolbox a resource for Scottish Schools

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impact of Autism on Bullying
IMPACT Responding to the needs of pupils 

Core difficulties in social relatedness and understanding will often have a significant impact on the person. For example a pupil with autism is unlikely to be socially motivated to fit into the crowd or follow fashion trends: such a pupil may not be motivated by the same types of things as other pupils.

Assess and develop self-awareness skills in areas related to their vulnerabilities. There are numerous practical resources to help in this area; there are also specific interventions developed to support this area of functioning e.g. 

Asperger's Syndrome:a Practical Guide for teachers

Developing Social Interaction and Understanding

They may like things that seem 'odd' to other pupils and teachers. This can cause them to 'stand out' in a crowd and they can then be susceptible to bullying in response to their difference.

Developing alternative opportunities, such as 'safe communities' within the school (examples of these can be chess clubs, library or a base to have breaks and lunch).

There are challenges within the social context resulting from interpersonal engagement, processing the social meaning and awareness of others perspectives.

Provide social skills training opportunities, but be aware of the limitations of generalising these skills. (Use this as a means of raising the pupil's self-awareness or as an informative informal assessment to guide strategies of support).

Difficulty interpreting unspoken meanings behind words and can result in the pupil being vulnerable to the intentions of others. Pupils with autism can often become 'targets' as their social naivety can be very apparent.

Teach 'signs of bullying' so that the pupil is aware of what behaviours indicate bullying.

Ensure the school anti-bullying policy specifically mentions autism and the response to be taken to incidents and bullying behaviour. Respectme national anti-bullying service can support the development of and refreshment of policies and provide training for staff.

Help the pupil to understand the school's anti-bullying policy.

Provide 'assertiveness training' but be aware of the possible impact of inflexible thinking and that the pupil may rigidly apply a set response in a variety of different contexts. Additionally, they may not be able to initiate this response in a social situation. Continue to monitor and adapt your support strategies and provide visual supports to augment their learning.

A pupil with autism may have a single minded focus on developing friendships. They may desperately want a friend and can misinterpret kindness for friendship and become attached to someone who does not consider them a friend. Inflexibility of thought and a lack of appreciation of the others feelings may result in rejection.

Consider providing a 'buddy system' or someone who can 'look out' for them and report any situation that they feel are of concern for the person.

A pupil with autism may be motivated to 'fit in' with the crowd, but lack the social awareness that they are being 'exploited' by others. Some people engage in 'anti-social' activity.

Provide visually timetabled 'social translation' sessions. This can provide an opportunity within the day for the pupil to discuss situations they may not have understood or that have been picked up as social misunderstandings by teachers.

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