If your child has an autism spectrum disorder, his or her odds of being bullied are much higher than children in the general population.
As much as nearly half of all adolescents with autism are bullied at school, according to a survey of their parents. That's significantly higher than the 11 percent of the general population that is bullied.
Using records from a 2001 survey of 920 parents, University of California researchers found that 46 percent of parents said their autistic teenagers were the victims of bullying and 15 percent thought their children were bullies themselves.
Nine percent of moms and dads said their kids were both victims and bullies.
The results were published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine .
The findings also suggest a grim reality for teens with autism, who are already more prone to struggle in school: kids and teens who are bullied tend to be more depressed, lonely and anxious and do worse in school than those who aren't picked on, according to the researchers.
The researchers say the findings suggest schools should not isolate vulnerable kids by putting them in special needs classes, but rather target their anti-bullying campaigns accordingly .
Is your kid at risk for bullying? What steps do you take? Let us know in the comments .