Bullying and the Special Education Student BY LYNN BLACKMAN-PRADO
Overview The aim of the education field is to enable students to lead satisfying lives despite their disabilities. Bullying hampers their ability to do so
Overview “Students with medical, cognitive, learning or psychological disabilities frequently draw attention of bullies because they have readily identifiable features that differentiate them from their peers” (Rose et al., 2011, p. 122) “Students with special needs are at increased risk of victimization” (Twyman et al., 2010, p.195)
Bullying involves repeated harmful physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, or electronic media acts. (Dempsey et al., 2009) That Because of Threaten Size of bully Insult Strength of bully Dehumanize Being outnumbered by several Intimidate another individual bullies who cannot properly defend Being less psychologically himself or herself resilient than bullies
Effects of Bullying Children who experience bullying across multiple years may be more at risk for developing psychological and physical disorders than those who experience limited bullying Bullying undermines a child’s fundamental right to learn in a safe school environment Bullying can result in irreparable harm to the victim
Survey of Bullying and Victimization Rates (Rose et al., 2011)Students without Students with Students with disabilities disabilities in disabilities in inclusive self-contained settings settingsBully 10.2% Bully 15.6% Bully 20.9%Victim 12.0% Victim 18.5% Victim 21.7%
Bullying and the Special Education Student Being a member of a special needs group means being in a situationally less powerful group Features that make students with special needs targets for harassment include: Physical deformities Walking problems, including walking slower and unsteady gait Reading problems Speech and communication problems Hyperactivity Ritualistic behaviors Use of assistive technology such as audio books, phonetic software, communication devices, switches and screen magnifiers
Effective Strategies Teachers Can Use to Counteract Bullying Model desired attitudes and behaviors Foster student-shared responsibility for the classroom’s social and physical environment Establish and communicate rules and sanctions regarding bullying Apply classroom rules fairly and consistently Identify and intervene upon undesirable attitudes and behaviors that could be gateway behaviors to bullying Manage time and task so that students remain connected and productive and less likely to engage in undesirable behaviors Teach students how to ask for help and how to report cruelty, bullying, and harassment Respond to requests for help Refer critical bullying cases to appropriate sources of support
Summary The consequences of bullying may be worse for the student with preexisting mental and physical health conditions than those without these conditions. Bullying may interfere with a student’s compliance with treatment regimens. Students may view school as a place to normalize their lives and bullying makes schools less desirable and even places to be avoided. Students may amplify those aspects of their condition that make them feel different from others if they are teased or bullied and therefore they may feel further isolated and under more stress. At a minimum a school’s responsibilities include making sure that the victim and their families know how to report any subsequent problems and conducting following-up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or any instance of retaliation.
Resources Dempsey, A.; Sulkowski, M.; Nichols, R.; Storch, E. (2009). Differences Between Peer Victimization in Cyber and Physical Settings and Associated Psychosocial Adjustment in Early Adolescence. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 125-136. Twyman, K; Saylor, C.; Adam, L.; Comeax, C. (2010). Comparing Children and Adolescents Engaged in Cyber bullying to Matched Peers. Pubmed, 13(2), 195-199. Rose, C.; Monda-Mmaya, L.; Espelage, D. (2011). Bullying Perpetration and Victimization in Special Education: A Review of the Literature. Remedial and Special Education, 32(2), 114-123.