Autistic children may be more likely to be involved in bullying, either as the recipient or the aggressor, according to a new study.
Researchers claim that students receiving special-education services for behavioural disorders and obvious disabilities are at a greater risk of being bullied and bullying others than the general education counterparts.
Dr Susan Swearer, lead author of the study, claims that the findings highlight the difficulties in addressing bullying.
"These results paint a fairly bleak picture for students with disabilities in terms of bullying, victimization and disciplinary actions," she stated.
"Sadly, these are the students who most need to display prosocial behaviour and receive support from their peers."
The discovery was made when researchers followed more than 800 students receiving both normal and special educational support.
It was found that those with mild mental handicaps and language or hearing impairments were at the greatest risk of being involved in bullying.
The findings support those of previous studies, which have shown that autistic children can be bullied up to three times more than unaffected siblings.
Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions.