Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Combating Bullying

It has been suggested that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are especially vulnerable to bullying. The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) is now sharing initial results of a national survey on the bullying experiences of children on the autism spectrum. The findings show that children with ASD are bullied at a very high rate, and are also often intentionally “triggered” into meltdowns or aggressive outbursts by ill-intentioned peers.

The study found that a total of 63% of 1,167 children with ASD, ages 6 to 15, had been bullied at some point in their lives.

Click here to read the IAN report.

New! 7 Steps to Take a Stand Against Bullying

Autism Speaks is committed to providing resources and tools to help take a stand against bullying. Here are seven steps that parents, educators and students can take to help take a stand against bullying. The Special Needs Anti-Bullying Toolkit below contains a number of tips and resources to accomplish each of these steps.

Special Needs Anti-Bullying Toolkit

Autism Speaks is excited to be working with the National Center for Learning Disabilities, PACER’s National Bullying Center and Ability Path in partnership with the new documentary film BULLY to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with special needs.

Visit to learn more, and find out what you can do to help our children live in a bully free world.

Together with our partners, we just released a Special Needs Anti-Bullying Toolkit, full of resources and information specifically tailored to parents, educators, and students dealing with bullying and children with special needs.

Below is an excerpt from the Toolkit:

Top Ten Facts Parents, Educators and Students Need to Know:

1. The Facts - Students with disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers.
2. Bullying affects a student's ability to learn.
3. The Definition - bullying based on a student's disability may be considered harassment.
4. The Federal Laws - disability harassment is a civil rights issue.
5. The State Laws - students with disabilities have legal rights when they are a target of bullying.
6. The adult response is important.
7. The Resources - students with disabilities have resources that are specifically designed for their situation.
8. The Power of Bystanders - more than 50% of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes.
9. The importance of self-advocacy.
10. You are not alone.

Click here to read the Toolkit!

Taking Action

Getting started is as easy as writing a letter to your child's teacher, or asking your Principal to post your school's anti-bullying policy in public places around the school building. It could mean talking to your child about how he or she has experienced bullying, or reading about the roles of bullying and identifying your personal place in the cycle of bullying.

Every step towards a bully free world will help a child with special needs live free from fear and torment.

BULLY: A Documentary

BULLY is a powerful documentary directed by Lee Hirsch that follows the lives of five students who face bullying on a daily basis. This movie, rated PG-13, opened in select theatres March 30th, 2012, and had a great premier in New York and Los Angeles. In fact, it had the strongest opening weekend of any documentary film so far this year. That’s a powerful kickoff for this great movement we’re building together.

The Bully Project highlights solutions that both address immediate needs and lead to systemic change. Starting with the film’s STOP BULLYING. SPEAK UP! call to action, The Bully Project will catalyze audience awareness to action with a series of tools and programs supported by regional and national partners.

Check out the BULLY trailer below:

Visit to learn more about the movie and how you can help the movement to stop bullying!


New! A New Study from the IAN Finds Bullying Causes Significant Short-Term Emotional And Physical Consequences For Children With Autism

Click here to read the new study.

Bullying and Autism Resources


The Autism Acceptance Book: Being A Friend to Someone with Autism
by Ellen Sabin
THE AUTISM ACCEPTANCE BOOK: BEING A FRIEND TO SOMEONE WITH AUTISM is an interactive, educational and character-building book that introduces children to the challenges faced by people with autism while also supporting their personal journey toward appreciating and respecting people's differences. The 62-page spiral-bound book offers educational information, conversation-starters, and engaging exercises that invite children to “walk in someone else's shoes” as they learn to treat others the same ways they would like to be treated themselves. This book is ideal for use in classrooms, camps, and other group settings. A free Teacher’s Guide is also available to help teachers maximize the impact of the book. Click here to learn more!

Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying – Practical Solutions for Surviving the Social World
by Rebekah Heinrichs , foreword by Brenda Smith Myles

Mommy, I Wish I Could Tell You What They Did To Me In School Today
by Richard Stripp

Changing Genes: What if Someone Else Were Wearing Your Jeans?
by Jack Branson and Mary Branson

Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions
by Nick Dubin, foreword by Michael John Carley

The Bully Blockers: Standing up for Classmates with Autism
by Celeste Shally

A Is for Autism F Is for Friend: A Kid's Book for Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism
by Joanna L. Keating-Velasco

Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools
by Susan M. Swearer, PhD, Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, Scott A. Napolitano, PhD

Bullyproof Your Child For Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good
by Joel Haber and Jenna Glatzer

Cyberbullying: Bullying in the Digital Age
by Robin M. Kowalski, Susan P. Limber, Patricia W. Agatston

Dandelion: "Bulling is for People with No Imagination..."
by Protein One USA, Inc.

Bullying Cure: The Groundbreaking eBook on Curing Bullying
by Ronald Bibace

The Whisperer Saga: New Antibullying Books for Children
by Jennifer Anzin

It's Not Just About Bullying: It's Time to Change
by Lizzie Vishnevsky

The Magic Dozen at Emerald Pond: An Anti-Bullying Children's Novel
by Amber Lee Sellers and M. Stephen Brown

Teaching Anti-Bullying: A Guide for Parents, Students and Teachers
by Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo


Bullying and Autism: Helping Kids Cope with Getting Excluded

Cyberbullying: The New Online Crime

Face Bullying with Confidence – 8 Skills Kids Can Use Right Away

Teach Antibullying, Inc.

School Bullying Prevention: 31 Resources

The National Autistic Society: Bullying and Autism Spectrum Disorders – A Guide for School Staff

Amaze Information Fact Sheet: Bullying and Autism Spectrum Disorders
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Interactive Autism Network: Bullying and ASD

Autism NOW: Bullying and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Understanding Bullying and Cyberbullying

Other Resources

The Signs of Bullying: What to Look For If You Suspect Your Child is Being Bullied

Bullying and Students with Special Needs DVD
In the DVD Bullying and Students with Special Needs, experts look at this issue and advise teachers and administrators on how to develop specific strategies and approaches.