Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Kids with serious food allergies live with the fear they may come into contact with a triggering food. But a new study out this week suggests that they may also face a social challenge because of their allergy: bullies could wield allergens in attempts to intimidate and terrorize allergic kids. More from CNN.com:
A study released last week suggests that almost half of children who have food allergies have been bullied — sometimes by having food thrown at them.
“Clearly, it’s an issue for these school-aged children in terms of how they interact with their peers,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett, director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. “Immediately, when there’s a diagnosis of food allergy, there’s a little bit of a stigma.”
The new study furthers the mounting evidence that many kids with food allergies may endure social ostracism while also trying to eat safely.
A 2010 study in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said that 35% of kids over age 5 with food allergies have endured bullying, teasing or harassment. Parents of children with food allergies reported in the study that these incidents — both physical and verbal — happened because of food allergies.
Food allergy is a growing problem in young people. As many as 8% of children in the United States have at least one food allergy, according to research data.
There is no cure for food allergies. The only way to stop a life-threatening reaction, called anaphylaxis, is an epinephrine auto-injector, which allergists recommend that everyone with severe food allergies should carry.
Image: Peanuts, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
A new study conducted by the Interactive Autism Network (part of the Kennedy Krieger Institute) looked closely at why bullying in school continues to be a serious problem faced by children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The findings highlight two difficult truths – most autistic children have experienced bullying, and more than half feel they have been purposely provoked into fighting by bullies.
Almost two-thirds of autistic children had been bullied at some point in their lives, and they were three times more likely than neurotypical kids to be bullied in the past three months. This was even true for home-schooled autistic children, who were sometimes educated at home precisely because of the bullying issue. “After a horrible year in 3rd grade,” said one mother, “where he was clinically diagnosed as depressed (he has always been anxious), I pulled my son out of public school and am homeschooling him this year. He is doing much, much better without the constant name calling and being singled out for his ‘weird’ behaviors!”
The three most common types of bullying were verbal, or, in other words, psychological in nature: “being teased, picked on, or made fun of” (73%); “being ignored or left out of things on purpose” (51%), and “being called bad names” (47%). But almost a third of autistic children also experienced physical bullying – being shoved, pushed, slapped, hit, or kicked.
Even more disturbing was the fact that over half of the autistic children surveyed had experienced intentional triggering of meltdowns or had been “provoked into fighting back.” One mother said, “Often kids try to upset her because they find it funny when she gets upset and cries. She is overly emotional, and they seem to get a kick out of this.”
Bullying was most pronounced in regular public schools (43%), but better in special education public schools (30%), and lowest in regular private schools and special education private schools (28% and 18%, respectively).
Image: Clenched fists, via Shutterstock