The National problem of Bullying and the forgotten population: Students with Disabilities

Aug 17, 2015
Tagged with: The National problem of Bullying and the forgotten population: Students with Disabilities

Bullying is nothing new. For years, it was just a part of some people’s experience at school.  Whether it was because a new person arrived at school that didn’t fit in with a particular crowd, or even sometimes it was just because kids were bored with the atmosphere and they saw bullying someone else as “something to pass the time”.Unfortunately, it seems to be a “hot button topic” these days that’s getting lots of attention. Sadly, the stakes have gotten higher, with more publicized incidences of students doing such drastic things as committing suicide because of the tormenting they’re facing while they’re at school. There’s another element to this problem that you hear very little about. Students with disabilities are bullied at a higher rate than their non-disabled counterparts, yet we rarely see information about this aspect of the problem, or better yet, what do you do if you’re a parent who has a disabled student falling victim to a classmate at school.

 

I’d like to take an opportunity to talk about the far-reaching health concerns that affect those who are bullied and start to explore what can be done to help the situation. Students with disabilities are bullied at a higher rate for a few reasons. They may be seen by others as an easy target and because of their specific disability, be more vulnerable to that kind of treatment. When you find yourself being bullied you may not want to say anything, or even worse, if you’re bullied in front of a group of your peers, you’re probably totally mortified by the experience and want to hide under the nearest rock as fast as possible. School is supposed to be a safe place for our kids to be but, when you’re being bullied and don’t know what to do, you might not even want to go to school, and as a result your attendance can be affected. Additionally, it can contribute to a decline of a child’s academic success. The time these students should be spending focusing on schoolwork is most likely being used to try and recover mentally from maybe an embarrassing incident at lunch, for example. The experience of being bullied can also make them have low self-esteem and even experience depression.

 

Social Media is a great way to stay connected to family and friends and be more informed in real time about what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately it’s also been used to bully kids after they’re home from school too. Keeping an open line of communication between kids and their parents is key to this situation. For the student, even if they’re having a difficult time at school, they’re more likely to reach out to their parent for help. Parents need to be aware of their child and in tune with what’s going on with their student. According to stopbullying.gov, classic signs of bullying can include change in eating habits, faking illness, loss of friends, unexplained injuries, not wanting to go to school, and self-destructive behaviors, just to name a few.

 

Thankfully there are steps we can take to minimize the chances that our kids will be exposed to this experience. In the event that they are, we have the power to maintain a toolkit at the ready so that there’s an action plan that can easily be put in to place. The most important thing that our children need to know in this situation is that they aren’t to blame and there are options for them to overcome the situation and be successful in all their endeavors.

Author: Christinne Rudd



  • bobl07

    Being a one time youth with a disability it is still so hard to imagine that this is a problem. No doubt we need to bring attention on this topic. Christinne did you ever experience bullying? I have to say that I did not but that doesn’t mean that it does not happen. Thanks for the insight.