What To Do If Your Child With Special Needs Is Getting Bullied
You may already know that a child with special needs is more likely to get bullied. In fact, children with physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities—are at an increased risk of being bullied. Those with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. Any number of factors— physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments—may increase the risk. Research suggests that some children with disabilities may bully others as well. One study shows that 60 percent of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly compared with 25 percent of all students.
Research also shows that children are bullied more in public schools than private schools.
Why does bullying happen, and what can we do to minimize it?
Why Children Become Bullies
Research shows that a common reason for bullying is because they lack attention from a parent at home This can include neglected children, children of divorced parents, or children with parents under the regular influence of drugs/alcohol.
How Bullying Impacts Your Student
Research shows that the result of bullying on students can have a direct negative impact on their education. Bullying isn’t harmless, and it’s not something that every single student will experience. Students who are bullied are known to avoid school, are absent more often, have a decrease in grades, can’t concentrate easily, and lose interest in academic achievement.
What To Do If Your Child is Bullied
Take a moment to calm down. Your initial reaction will most likely be that you want to punish whomever was responsible for your child’s bullying. However, the best plan of action is to stay calm and collect all of the necessary information in order to create a solid resolution to the situation.
Collect the information: talk to your student, get all of the facts straight - ask who was involved, where the incident happened, when it took place, if there were others who participated or saw it happen, and any other information you can glean from the situation.
Reach out to the school to see what their code of conduct policy is, and discuss the problem with them. Come to a solution with the school rather than taking matters into your own hands, as the school has experienced situations like this in the past and can work with you on a plan to address the bullying.
Know Your Rights
If the problem persists, you should be aware of what steps you can legally take. Here is a great starting point for educating yourself on your rights as a parent of a student with disabilities, on the federal level. On the state level, you can start reading here.