Be Unlimited is taking a major stand against bullying. Our 3 On Bullying feature appears on the last Friday of every month. Here, you’ll learn facts to keep you informed, skills to help you handle bullying situations, the support you need, and much more. This edition of 3 On Bullying takes a look at bullying among those with special needs.
ONE: Children with learning disabilities and special needs may be at an increased risk of being bullied. One reason for that is because children with special needs sometimes have a lower social standing among other students in a classroom. This can lead them to becoming the targets of bullying incidents, including: verbal and physical attacks.
TWO: Research indicates that 60% of students with special needs reported being bullied compared to 25% percent of the general student population. Research has also discovered that students with disabilities were more worried about school safety and being injured or harassed by their peers compared to students without a disability. That’s not surprising when the facts show that children with special needs or a disability are ten times more likely to be bullied than the general student population.*
THREE: Young people with speech impediments and medical conditions that affect their appearance (such as Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome) are also at higher risk of being bullied. One study found that 83% of adults who stuttered when they were younger reported they had been teased or bullied for it.*
Being sensitive to the differences of others is essential for putting an end to the bullying of students with special needs. It is wrong to ridicule a person’s difference, regardless of what it is. This includes race, religion, appearance, gender, and special needs.
We need to demonstrate a sense of empathy (sharing the feelings) of those who are different. Consider spending a day in the life of a person with special needs, and facing the challenges they do. Ask yourself how being bullied would add to those challenges. Instead of picking on someone who is different, you should take time to get to know that person. See what things you might have in common or how you might be able to help them.
You will never reach your highest potential in life if bullying others is what you do. Always think of lifting someone else up, especially someone who’s being put down. You will feel yourself being lifted as a result.
Be Unlimited is taking a major stand against bullying. We hope you are ready to stand with us.
(*Source: The Bureau of Justice School Bullying Statistics.)