It’s that time of year again, summer is officially over, and youth all across the country are now back to school. For some parents, it’s a day that they were waiting for all summer, finally able to get their children out of their hair. While for other parents, they have been dreading the day because of the chances that their child may be bullied in school.
Parents of youth living with special needs and disabilities, such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities, may be at an increased risk of their child being bullied while at school. While bullying may not seem like an issue to most parents, to a parent of child with a disability, it can be a big worry. Ensure your loved one is not being bullied at school by following some of the tips below.
Talk To School Officials
To ensure your loved one is in a safe environment when heading back to school, special considerations are needed to address school bullying of individuals with special needs or disabilities. Getting started is as easy as writing a letter to your child’s teacher, or discussing the school’s anti-bullying policy with the principal. Often times, individuals can also have individual education programs, or IEPs. (more on IEPs in a future blog post) IEPs can be useful in creating specialized approaches for preventing and responding to bullying, should it occur.
Talk To Your Loved One
Communication with your loved one is also important. Talking with them about different types of bullying and whether he/she has experienced bullying while at school, can help identify if further actions are needed to make sure it ends. When it comes to bullying of individuals with special needs and disabilities, there are ten facts that parents, educators, and students need to understand:
- Students with disabilities are more likely to be bullied in comparison to nondisabled students
- Bullying affects a students’ ability to learn
- Depending on the disability, bullying may be considered harassment
- Disability bullying is a civil rights issue
- Students with disabilities have a legal right when they are the target of bullying
- Adult response is very important by both educators and parents
- There are resources available to help avoid bullying
- When a peer intervenes, more than 50% of bullying situations end for good
- Self-advocacy is important
- Speaking up for yourself also inspires other to speak up. You are not alone
It is important to make sure that all of our children grow up free of fear, violence, and bullying. School bullying not only threatens a student’s physical and emotional safety at school, but it also creates conditions that negatively impact learning, and inhibits a students’ ability to achieve their full potential. For additional information on preventing bullying, head over to stopbullying.gov for additional resources.