Bullying is an issue that can affect any child, but often there are cases of bullying disabled children, things they have to deal with on a greater scale. Even a slight disability tends to cause children to be bullied. This causes many parents to wonder how to prevent a disabled child from being bullied. The truth is that there is no one solution. Rather there are a number of aspects that need to come together to help children.
How to Prevent Bullying Disabled Children: Educate Children
One of the main reasons for children to bully others is that they are different and they do not understand them. This is why many schools are implementing educational sessions with the student body to help them understand the different disabilities children face. When they understand the issues that the children are going through, it often makes them feel more compassion and they are less likely to bully others.
While it is important for schools to educate children, it is also important that parents to teach their children about disabilities from a young age. Teaching them about autism and cerebral palsy for instance can help them to have a better understanding of what these disabilities are and how they affect the children.
One of the biggest things to stress is the ways that disabled children are the same as every other child. When a child can understand that a child with cerebral palsy can think like the, enjoy the same jokes and TV shows, just is unable to walk it can help to make it easier to make friends.
How to Prevent Bullying Disabled Children: Start an Anti-Bullying Club at the School
Another way to help prevent bullying of children is to start a club for this at your school. Often times schools simply need a parent who is willing to get involved to make this happen. You will find that working with the children can give you a great sense of accomplishment and can benefit them as well.
If your school does not already have a club for this, then you can talk with the staff to work on one with the children. The children who get involved in the club can help you come up with a number of different activities to help raise awareness. Some of the things you can do are:
- Have commercials about bullying with the morning announcements
- Make posters about bulling to put up at school
- Have a school play about bullying
These are just a few of the activities that you can do with the children. The idea is to teach them to be tolerant of others. Whether it is skin color, disability, clothing or any other aspect, children should learn to be tolerant and accepting of others for who they are. When they learn this, the bullying will not be an issue. The children in the club will become role models and can help you pass on what they learn to other children.
How to Prevent Bullying Disabled Children: Understand the Rules and Laws About Bullying
Each school should have a code of conduct that shows you the rules as well as the punishments. This will help you to know what the rules are regarding bullying. With this, you also want to look at your state laws about bullying to see how they line up with the school. There are also laws regarding disabled harassment. You will need to check your laws to make sure you have an understanding of what is defined as bullying or harassment this way so that you can know what to look for as well as understand the consequences.
How to Prevent Bullying Disabled Children: How to Know if Your Child is Being Bullied
Whether your child suffers from a mental disability, physical disability or even just a speech disability, you should not have to be concerned that they will be bullied for it. This is why it is important that you know what to look for. Knowing the warning signs will also help you find ways to combat these issues. Some of the signs of bullying include:
- Looking visibly upset
- Feeling depressed
- Not wanting to talk about their day
- Faking illness to get out of school or activities
- A decline in their grades
- Unexplained marks
- Lost or destroyed items
- Trouble sleeping or having nightmares
- Loss of interest in friends
- Low self esteem
- Self harming or other destructive behaviors
- Eating habits change
- Starts bullying others (often times those bullied start bullying others as a way to get out the anger they feel).
If you notice these signs, the best thing you can do is talk to your child. If they cannot tell you or simply do not want to, then you know that you need to pay closer attention to what is going on while they are at school. Talk with their teacher as well as the guidance counselor to find out if they know of any situations that have occurred. They will also be able to help keep an eye on your child for any other issues of bullying.
How to Prevent Bullying Disabled Children: When You See Something, Do Something
Even if you are not an educator and the child that is being bullied is not your own, you want to take action if you see a child being bullied. Do not just assume that this is harmless teasing from children. Rather step in and break up the situation. Talk with the children involved. If it happens at school, take it to the office to allow the principal and guidance counselors to handle the situation. If it happens outside of school, let the parents of the children know what is going on so that they can handle it right away. Just as you do not want to see your child being bullied, do not allow others to be bullied.
When you approach the situation though, you want to make sure that you remain calm. Getting upset and raising your voice only makes the situation worse. Do not argue with the children as you want to be the respectful role model that you want the children to be themselves. Listen to what the children involved as well as the bystanders have to say.
How to Prevent Bullying Disabled Children: Get Involved
The best thing you can do for your child is to get involved in their school and extracurricular activities. Make sure you have a good relationship not only with the teacher but the staff as well. Volunteer at the school so you can know what is going on and can be there to help out. It is also good to take a class on bullying so you will know how to handle the situation when it arises.
Unfortunately bullying is something that happens, even when you are in a good school. The best thing you can do is take as many steps as possible to change this. Keep in mind that change starts at home. Do everything you can to help your child from being bullied and you will find that you will have a happier and well developed child.