Children with ADHD already face more barriers than most, and now a study is revealing one more: bullying. The Journal of Attention Disorders has released data from from the 2016 to 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health and it shows some interesting statistics on just how many children with ADHD are bullied.
The survey observed children six to 17 years old with ADHD and looked at the association between bullying reported by parents, either as a victim or a perpetrator, and potential predictors. These included family and school factors, the children’s behavior and demographic characteristics.
The survey found an alarming number: 46.9% of children with ADHD were victims of bullying. As for those who were perpetrators, 16.2% were found to be children with ADHD.
So what exactly causes this link? Those who were found to be victims exhibited a developmental delay or intellectual disability, had family financial strain, difficulties with friendship and problems reported by school.
The Drake Institute shares that “children with ADHD may become easier targets for bullies due to certain behaviors they tend to exhibit, such as making impulsive behaviors or comments, being clumsy, not understanding personal space, violating others’ boundaries, or struggling academically.”
When it comes to perpetrators, factors included a lack of school engagement, difficulty staying calm and having friendships, receiving government aid, being male and problems at school. “The very same impulsivity and social difficulties that make kids with ADD more likely to be targets of bullying may also lead them to take out their frustrations on others and become more aggressive,” the Drake Institute reveals.
The study identified key issues in both victims and perpetrators so what now? First, it’s important for both parents and educators to know the potential factors listed above and be aware of the signs of bullying. Next, ADDitude believes “The most effective way parents can buffer against bullying is by helping kids manage their ADHD symptoms through medical, educational, and behavioral interventions – acting as a social coach to help improve skills.”