L-CYR Seminar Series: Exploring the transition from primary to secondary school for students with autism

This talk explores what research tells us about the mental health and bullying of young people with autism.


High prevalence levels of mental health difficulties are increasingly being recognised among young people with autism, with a number of studies highlighting anxiety and depression as particular concerns. In addition, research consistently finds that students with autism are more vulnerable to bullying (victimisation) than their peers.

As being the victim of bullying is strongly associated with developing concurrent and future mental health problems, these are interlinking areas that cannot be ignored. School connectedness has been found to protect against mental health issues among the broader school population, as well as promoting greater social inclusion. However, it has not been explored in the context of young people with autism.

This talk will explore what research can tell us about the mental health and bullying of young people with autism, including the proposal that fostering a positive sense of school connectedness at individual and whole school levels may be a vital missing link in preventing or reducing such issues, especially around times of transition.