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The experience of friendship, victimization and bullying in children with an autism spectrum disorder: Associations with child characteristics and school placement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Emma Rowley, Susie Chandler, Gillian Baird, Emily Simonoff, Andrew Pickles, Tom Loucas, Tony Charman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1126-1134
Number of pages9
JournalResearch In Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

King's Authors


Children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be vulnerable to social isolation and bullying. We measured the friendship, fighting/bullying and victimization experiences of 10-12-year-old children with an ASD (N = 100) using parent, teacher and child self-report. Parent and teacher reports were compared to an IQ-matched group of children with special educational needs (SEN) without ASD (N = 80) and UK population data. Parents and teachers reported a lower prevalence of friendships compared to population norms and to children with SEN without an ASD. Parents but not teachers reported higher levels of victimization than the SEN group. Half of the children with an ASD reported having friendships that involved mutuality. By teacher report children with an ASD who were less socially impaired in mainstream school experienced higher levels of victimization than more socially impaired children; whereas for more socially impaired children victimization did not vary by school placement. Strategies are required to support and improve the social interaction skills of children with an ASD, to enable them to develop and maintain meaningful peer friendships and avoid victimization. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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