Schools must take action so that children with autism feel safe at break times.
Figures released today, as part of a nation-wide survey, showed that a staggering 97% of autistic children are seen by their parents and carers as vulnerable to bullying, with 42.4% of children telling their parents they are often bullied in school.
536310_476208745733663_1857730849_n
‘Give us a break!’
 
The results come as part of an inspirational national campaign Give us a Break!
The campaign calls on all schools and colleges to be particularly aware of the bullying that children with Autism experience at break times and to provide positive activities that keep them safe. This action will be welcomed by respondents of the survey; with over half citing that ‘structured activities’ are currently seriously lacking at break times in schools, alongside a vast 89% who said they would embrace positive activities as a constructive way of combating the bullying of autistic children.
“For children and young people with autism, break and lunch times in schools and colleges can be particularly daunting and can put them at risk of bullying.”  “Anna KennedyOnline the UK  Charity is to continue and raise awareness of bullying of children with autism in our schools and colleges. Too often these children are seen as the problem; as not ‘fitting in’ or ‘settling down’. We want to see all schools take decisive action to create environments and cultures where all children feel safe and supported without fear of bullying’
autistic
Further figures revealed the heartbreaking reality that almost three quarters (73%) of children with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) find break times extremely difficult and in some cases actually frightening, something Owen Cordwell, aged 10, knows only too well:  “I have been bullied just because I was in special provision. I never want anyone else to go through that. It doesn’t matter if you are autistic or not, you should not be bullied as we are all people with feelings and no child deserves to be bullied”
Anna Kennedy OBE, Director of Anna Kennedy Online says “I felt that a survey was needed to truly assess the extent of the problem due to the overwhelming amount of emails and messages I receive from families who are affected by this issue at grass-roots level every day; it became apparent that they needed a platform through which to voice their direct concerns.”The national campaign has already gained supportby West Ham United and Richard Mylan Actor from Waterloo Road who also is a parent of a child on the spectrum.
‘Give us a break’ also seeks to inspire schools and colleges to communicate examples of their success stories, through designated resource sharing on  Anna Kennedy Online websites. Encouraging an idea sharing culture where thoughts on break time activities, keeping children safe and improving social skills can be discussed and circulated.For further information on the ‘Give us a Break’ campaign please contact lisa.robins@thevines.org.uk