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Brian Russell NFL: New Study Reveals Autistic Children Are Easy Targets for Bullying

Although many individuals understand the social complications that are associated with autism, new research reveals that a large percentage of autistic children suffer from bullying. As an advocate for autism research and awareness, Brian Russell, NFL star, comments on this trend.


New York, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/21/2012 --Although the national focus on bullying epidemics has gained considerable footing in the past year, a recent article from CNN Health provides further information pertaining to autistic children and bullying. The article cites a recent study that found that “about 46 percent of autistic children in middle and high school told their parents they were victimized at school within the previous year, compared with just over 10 percent of children in the general population.” The new research has helped many parents and medical professionals gain perspective on the social challenges that face children who have autism spectrum disorders. Brian Russell, NFL player and RT Autism Awareness Spokesperson, explains that this study plays an important part in helping the public understand autism, while also addressing rampant bullying issues among America’s youth.

According to the article, many of the autistic children who become targets for bullying are those who display higher intelligences than others classified with an autism spectrum disorder. It explains, “Children with autism who could speak well, for example, were three times more likely to be bullied than those whose conversational ability was limited or absent.” Regardless of the reasons behind the bullying, Brian Russell of the NFL believes it is not to be tolerated. He comments, “There are too many challenges to count for families dealing with autism. Awareness of the unique social challenges created by autism will help everyone.”

As an advocate for improving children’s health, in addition to raising autism awareness, Brian Russell explains that it is the responsibility of adults to help curb the high rate of bullying among adolescents. Russell endorses an approach cited by the article, which states, “Research finds that the best anti-bullying programs are comprehensive, involving the entire school and not just individual students. Programs that work well tend to encourage a warm school environment in which diversity is celebrated; they also rely on adults at the school…to set a tone that clearly indicates that bullying isn't acceptable.”

In response to this study in particular, Brian Russell, NFL professional, believes that this form of bullying is due to a lack of awareness. Since the article cites that many bullies are unable to understand the social complications of their autistic peers, it is important for both parents and educators to intervene and inform students about autism.

About Brian Russell
Brian Russell is a former NFL professional football player who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. In 2003, he and Tony Parrish tied for the league lead in interceptions with nine. Brian Russell, NFL athlete, is best known for his advocacy of education and healthy living. He is a proud spokesperson of the RT Autism Awareness Foundation – a group that aims to help further autism research and support for affected families.