Bullying, Abuse, and Autism: a survey

» Bullying & Abuse: Introduction
» About being Bullied, by Anon

Thank you very much to everyone who took part.
Ad hoc results are being tweeted @spectrum_life, and full results will be published in due course.

If you would like to take part in future research, please subscribe to our “research” newsletter (see right-hand column). Your subscription details will not be linked to any survey you subsequently complete, and your anonymity is guaranteed.

Original Post (published 9th January 2014)
Many autistic people experience some kind of bullying/abuse during their lifetimes.

We have compiled a survey, on Survey Monkey, to explore these experiences in a little more detail. If you are autistic, or think you might be autistic, we’d be very grateful if you would take five minutes to look at these 10 questions, to let us know a little about your own experiences. None of the answers you give with identify you in any way, and your anonymity is guaranteed.

How we are defining bullying and abuse:
PHYSICAL abuse doesn’t need to involve black eyes or broken bones; it also includes ANY kind of unwelcome physical contact, e.g. being pushed, hit, slapped, poked/prodded, pinched, spat at, having your hair-pulled, etc. – even if the other person says he/she is “just joking” or “just mucking around”.

PSYCHOLOGICAL abuse includes: being called names and/or made to feel small or humiliated, being threatened, feeling you have to do things you don’t want to do [or can’t do things you want to do] to keep someone happy, having your belongings taken and/or damaged, having someone checking your phone or emails, or always wanting to know where you are and who you’re with, being prevented from seeing your friends/family, someone playing ‘mind games’ with you, sulking with you until you give in, being told “you have no sense of humour” or “you are being unreasonable” or “irrational” when you object to any of the above.

SEXUAL abuse includes: you having to endure ANY kind of kissing or touching that makes you feel uncomfortable (even if you are in a sexual relationship with the other person), and/or sexual contact that you don’t want, but feel you can’t say no to (because of threats, sulking, etc.). It includes non-consensual sexual contact with you while you are asleep, drunk, or under the influence of drugs.

©Leigh Forbes

Autism & Counselling Poll – Results

Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the Autism & Counselling straw poll (it’s still open if you haven’t voted!). I initially had the idea whilst preparing an essay on research methods (and I wanted to how the results of such a poll varied with sample size), and chose ‘autism and counselling’ as it is a subject close to my heart: after 111 responses, 77% of us have accessed some form of counselling at some time. As Life on the Spectrum is a worldwide community, it is impossible to compare these figures with the general population in any valid way, but the UK government’s Social Trends report for 2007 (1), says that 16% of adults in England had suffered a common mental disorder* in the week before the survey, and and 1.6% had accessed counselling.

For those who are interested, the graph below demonstrates how the results varied according to sample size, producing a 17% difference between ten and fifty responses. The yes-vote seems to have settled at between 75 and 77% after sixty-four votes. I will leave the poll in place to see how (or if) the results change with an even larger sample.

I hope to conduct future research into many aspects life with autism. If you are autistic (either formally, or self-diagnosed), and would like to help, please sign up to our research newsletter in the sidebar! Thank you!

©Leigh Forbes

*Common mental disorders (CMDs) include depression, anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, OCD, and post traumatic-stress disorder.

1. Social Trends 40 – Health (pdf)

Autism & Counselling: a straw poll

In an effort to get some idea of whether autistic people access (either private or publicly funded) counselling or not, please take a moment to answer the question in the sidebar to the right. Thank you!

(I plan to use the numbers produced by this poll to demonstrate the accuracy, or otherwise, of sample sizes, for a university assignment.)

I’ll also be doing more research on the efficacy of various forms of counselling, and the role of autism in the therapist/client relationship, later this year. I’ll be very grateful for your participation again in the future, and if you’d like to help, please get in touch via the “contact” tab above, or subscribe to our research newsletter in the sidebar :o)

©Leigh Forbes