Bullying and children with special needs

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about bullying of children with special needs. It started out with an email from AbilityPath, an online hub for the special needs community. The email included a link to this amazing PSA on from Glee Actress Lauren Potter and a report on bullying of children with special needs, called Walk a Mile in Their Shoes. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I read the gut wrenching stories and statistics on bullying of our most vulnerable children. Just the thought of Ruby being bullied breaks my heart.

Here are some frightening statistics from the AbilityPath report:

Sixty percent of students with disabilities reported being bullied compared to 25 percent of the general student population. Source: British Journal of Learning Support (2008)

Only 10 studies have been conducted in the United States on bullying and developmental disabilities. All studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be victims of bullying than their nondisabled peers. Source: Disabilities: Insights from across Fields and around the World (2009)

While these statistics are truly heartbreaking, the report offers tips for parents to help them recognize the signs of bullying and provides ways to handle it with their child and the school. It’s a great resource for parents (of children with all abilities), teachers, therapists and anyone else who might have contact with children with special needs. I hope you’ll check it out and support AbilityPath’s amazing work!

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