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While any youth may be the target of bullying, some youth are at higher risk than others. The biggest risk factors:

• Has few friends or has none
• Not popular with others
• Has distinguishing physical features including over- or under-weight, glasses, braces, physical disability, or wearing unpopular clothing styles
• Is of a different race from most others in the school or group
• Has a real or perceived cognitive impairment (note: Einstein was thought to be learning disabled!)
• Is or is perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning of their sexual orientation or gender identity
• Has an atypical gender expression; a young man who is very effeminate acting, a young woman who is very masculine acting
• Is or is perceived to be annoying
• Is or is perceived to be weak, defenseless or unwilling to fight when attacked
• Is viewed as socially awkward
• Is living in substitute care, such as foster or residential care

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Dr. Chris Downs has devoted much of his professional career to improving services and outcomes for older, at-risk youth. Chris is President of The Downs Group LLC, based in Seattle and has the pleasure of working with many talented professionals in child welfare and allied areas including his company Associates.