Children with Different Abilities
Children with learning disabilities, emotional, cognitive and physical disabilities are at a much higher risk of being bullied by their peers. Bullying is a form of harassment when it is based on a student's disabilities. Harassment is a crime.
Bullying of children with disabilities includes:
- Excluding someone because of their disability
- Making fun of someone because of their disability
- Hurting someone because of their disability
Studies identify that children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their peers.
Reasons why children with different abilities are bullied vary
- Children with disabilities are perceived to be more vulnerable and less able to defend themselves.
- Children with disabilities sometimes stand out and are different because of their disability.
- Children with disabilities sometimes struggle with the social interaction making them easy targets.
- Children with disabilities sometimes struggle to regulate their emotions and get upset easily.
There is limited research on children with disabilities being bullied. For this reason, it is important for parents to be able to help identify bullying. Many children with disabilities are already struggling academically and being bullied can affect their education. Adults are a vital resource for children with disabilities to go to when in need.
Sign/symptoms/circumstances to watch for with your child
- Not wanting to go to school
- Not wanting to ride the bus
- Torn clothes or cuts/bruises on child
- Inability to finish school work
What can you do if you are concerned about bullying with your child
- Inform yourself: Know the signs of bullying.
- Have a safe word that your child can use at school if they have had enough, such as "Stop."
- Do not ignore it.
- Do not blame your child.
- Talk with staff at school routinely.
- Volunteer at your child’s school.
- Role-play situations of bullying with your child in order for them to be prepared if it occurs at school.
Bullying children because of their disabilities is against the law.