Special Needs Children and Adults: Why They Suffer Such High Rates of Bullying

cute girl in wheelchair playing with developing toy in kindergarten for children with special needs

People with autism and other neurological disorders suffer extremely high rates of victimization and bullying.

It’s bad enough that they must go through life struggling with a disability that they neither asked for nor have any control over. Even worse, they also struggle with constant cruelty from people in the general population because of that disability.

“A new study finds that children with autism spectrum disorders are bullied for more often than their typically developing peers.” (healthland.time.com)

According to Time Magazine (the above link), 46% of children on the spectrum reported being bullied compared to only 10% of neurotypical kids.

And the statistics are estimated to be even higher due to either being nonverbal and the inability to read social cues and, therefore, recognize the subtler forms of abuse. No one can report anything they do not know is occurring.

Because of their difficulty reading social cues, having repetitive behaviors, and being highly sensitive to external stimuli, bullies quickly zero in on these perceived weaknesses and see these people as easy prey who are ripe for harassment and degradation. Those with special needs are targeted because of their extreme vulnerability and inability to assert and defend themselves. In the minds of bullies, people with special needs are easy prey.

Special education words on cork background

Bullies get a rush out of the power they wield over their special needs victims because they consciously know they can torment them endlessly and with impunity. They also know that the chances are that no one will stop the abuse nor speak out for the victim because the sad reality is that most others do not see those who have special needs as “human.” Therefore, bullies take full advantage.

Anyone who intentionally targets a person with special needs is, in my opinion, a coward of the lowest common denominator. Too afraid to go toe to toe with someone of their equal, they seek out victims who cannot speak for or defend themselves!

Every day, mentally disabled people have Autism/Asperger’s or Down’s Syndrome are accosted, taunted, physically attacked, or even murdered because they are considered different and to be easy targets. Laws must be firmly put in place to protect these people, who are unable to defend themselves. Any crime against people in the above categories should be considered a hate crime because of the high vulnerability and severe disadvantage compared to neurotypical people, which equals a clear-cut imbalance of power.

It’s discrimination, any way you look at it, and just as horrible as bullying someone due to age, sex, race, religion, or orientation. Besides, most people in the other five groups have the facilities to speak for and defend themselves. They can demand equal treatment. People with special needs can’t, which is why we MUST make those with special needs a protected group!

The neurologically challenged are already fighting a very tough and likely, lifelong battle. Why do those who are more fortunate wish to make their lives much more complicated than they already are?

With knowledge comes empowerment!

42 thoughts on “Special Needs Children and Adults: Why They Suffer Such High Rates of Bullying

  1. One reason is that these conditions aren’t taken seriously. If I may use an example from my book, when Mark’s classmates learn he has DAMP, the one boy says he’s using the condition to live off welfare. It’s these attitudes that need to change.

  2. When I was in grade school and in high school there was a boy named Daniel that EVERYONE picked on. It made me so unbelievably angry. I went out of my way to help him, to stand up for him, and to stand in the way of those who would hurt him. I never understood that mentality!

  3. I know exactly what your talking about, Cherie. I work at a school with six self-contained special needs classes dedicated for children who are on the autism spectrum. There as also a handful of high functioning autistic students who are completely mainstreamed in regular ed classes. Some bullies will be bullies regardless, but other kids can be taught how to treat special needs students with respect.

    • Thank you so much, David. It sounds like you witness this kind of thing all the time and try to teach these bullies to treat the special needs kids with dignity. And you’re right, they can be taught to do so. 🤗

  4. I have a 26 year old autistic son- and one of my greatest fears was that he would become a bully’s Target. But the Lord showed me the story of David and Mephibosheth- Jonathan’s disabled son. After King Saul’s death- David could have bullied and mistreated Mephibosheth miserably, but for Jonathan’s sake-David was lovingly, kind to Mephibosheth and treated him like his very own son. Scripture says Mephibosheth ate continually at the king’s table- amongst princes (David’s sons).
    2 Samuel 9:13
    I pray for that kind of love for my son everyday!! I believe God is Able!!💕💕

  5. You know, you just want to punch people in the face for bullying period, but especially bullying those with special needs. 🥊 We had a lady who brought her daughter to our Zumba classes each week. Of course you know it was a wild time. But, I was always up to the front with my other rowdy ladies and we made the class fun. Laura’s mother would keep her in the back so she wouldn’t disturb us, but Laura would always dance her way up to where we were.

    Every time her mother would try to come up and get her, we asked her to let her stay. We had fun because she had fun. Now mind you, there were a few smug people in there, but honey chile, we paid them no mind. Do you know each week Laura reminded her mother that she didn’t want to be late to our Zumba classes? She was one of us and she gave us just as much energy and encouragement as we thought we were giving her! Thanks for sharing this topic girlfriend!!! 🤗💖😘💘🥰

    • My pleasure, sweetie! 💖 And I’m so happy that you all included Laura even though her mother was trying to keep her hidden, out of embarrassment more than likely. You are an angel, Kym! And I can imagine just how fun you and your ladies made the class for her! Totally awesome! 💖💐🌺 You rock! 🎸🎶

      • And girlfriend, you rock for bringing to light many topics that need to be discussed, but all too often people “act” as if they don’t know what’s happening. 😲 I appreciate you bringing awareness and standing with conviction! Do not allow anything to deter you from the truth girlfriend! 🤗🤜🏼🤛🏼🥰 Nada!!!

        • Thank you, sweetie! 💖🌺💐🌻🌞 And you can be sure that absolutely nothing will deter me from my calling and mission! And that’s what this is, a calling and mission! 😊

          • Oooh yeah!!! Now that song takes me back to when I was going to the club with the girls every two weekends after my divorce from my first husband! On the weekends my ex got visitation with the kids, me and the girls would hit the dance club and dance our butts off! Boy Howdy! We had a blast! We’d get there around ten o’clock when things would be just starting to jump off and wouldn’t leave until closing time at 4am! Six hours of dancing and partying! They played “This is How We Do It” every weekend we were there! Other songs they played were “Here Comes the Hotstepper” by Ini Kamozi, “Shake Your Rump” by Wrexx N Effect, “Back at The Hotel” by N2Deep, and “Come Baby Come” by K7, “More and More” by Captain Hollywood Project, “Sweet Dreams” by LaBouche, and “Mr. Vain” by Culture Beat! Back then they played a lot of Eurodance music along with the hip hop! The 90s ROCKED, girl! 🎶💃🎸

          • Girl, now you are really throwing back in the day. We danced so much, which is the reason why I was probably so small back then. Hmmmm….. 🤔🤔🤔 But sistah, you threw out some hits I forgot about. See, that’s why you’re my D.J. Cherie, Cherie Coco Pop!!! 📻🎶🎧🎼🎸🎛🎤🎵 I think I need to revisit some of these booty-shaking hits. I certainly missed them and yes, the 90s ROCKED!!!

          • I’m with you, girl! I visit them all them time! Nostalgia just overtakes me sometimes! Girl, enjoy those hits and tell me about how you shook your pants to them!

            Dang! I just thought of another song but one from the early 80s-

            🎶 “Shake Your pants…I like the way you dance…shake your pants…shake-shake-shake-shake-shake! Ooooo…ooooo…!” 🎶🎸💃🎤

          • Ha, ha, ha….when you said that I immediately thought about that song. Haven’t heard that one in quite some time now. Gosh, I got a lot of catching up to do! 😝😂😆🤣😁 Ciao ladybug!!! 💐😘🌺

  6. I just don’t and can’t understand why the need to bully! 😥 But it’s good to have blogs like yours who continually write topics like this for self-awareness and help. Thank you! 💗💗💗

  7. I live with disability, later in life, and have been victimised by top political “leaders.” It is because we are different; even guinea fowl have a pecking order with the infirm at the bottom end. So do lions, sheep, or any other animals. One’s own species reject what they see as misfits. As we may hold them back.

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