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Victimization, Pragmatic Language, and Social and Emotional Competence in Adolescents with ASD

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Although parents frequently report that their adolescents with Asperger's syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA) are bullied in school, and many adolescents with AS or HFA display high levels of depression and anxiety, which may be exacerbated by bullying. However, little research has investigated what factors might be related to these adolescents' experiences in being bullied by their peers. In this study, researchers will examine a number of different factors that might relate to the experiences of being bullied by studying behavioral measures in adolescents with AS or HFA as compared to their typically developing peers. Dr. Kelley and colleagues will examine developmental levels, social and emotional understanding and functioning, social use of language, and general adaptive skills in both groups of adolescents. They will investigate how these various factors are correlated with adolescents' experiences with being bullied. The assessment of the specific factors that contribute to victimization in adolescents with AS and HFA will help teachers and parents to better intervene and develop effective prevention programs.