Promoting Social Inclusion Through Physical Activity
Bullying has become a hot topic lately in social media, the news, and awareness campaigns. Many reports have noted that students with disabilities are involved, but fail to mention them most often as the main target. There are several interventions surfacing to combat this “silent epidemic” with play being the main solution. In order for these interventions to have an impact on youth with disabilities the solution of play must be inclusive.
In recent years school bullying has received national attention contributing to all 50 states adopting anti-bullying laws, policies, or both. The question now is how effective are these laws and anti-bullying programs for youth with disabilities? Several research studies have reported alarming new patterns for victims of bullying showcasing that individuals with intellectual disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders are at an increased risk. A nationwide survey of more than 900 parents of students with an intellectual disability reported that 57% were being bullied. The rates of bullying among these youth are worryingly high, contributing this issue to a profound public health problem.