“Children with special needs are three times more likely to be bullied than other kids.” This statistic is what made our CEO, Bree Law, start Party For Autism. After witnessing a classmate be pushed around and humiliated on a high school bus without anyone stepping in to stop the violent acts, Law knew that she had to do something, not only for her classmate, but for other people with special needs that are bullied on a daily basis, and have no one to turn to. Then rose the “Your Hand Marks are Permanent” Campaign, that will be starting at UNC Charlotte the week on April 23rd. Posters will be hung around the university’s campus, as well as an awareness wall in the student union that will display the signatures of students who vow to bring awareness to the issue.
“My biggest goal from this project is that people will try to put themselves in these children’s shoes, and think the next time they say a hurtful word, or step in when they see someone being bullied,” says Law.
- Children with special needs or a disability are ten times more likely to be bullied than the neurotypical student. Current federal statistics show that 15% to 25% of neurotypical school age children are bullied with some frequency.
- A study in the British Journal of Learning Support found higher rates of bullying in children with special needs. The researchers indicated that 60% of students with special needs reported being bullied compared to 25% of the general student population
- Researchers have discovered that students with disabilities were more worried about school safety and being injured or harassed by other peers compared to students without a disability
- The National Autistic Society reports that 40% of autistic children and 60% of those with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying.
What you as a Parent Can Do To Help Prevent Bullying:
1. Reach out to the parents of other children with special needs at your child’s school.Together, you can form a coalition and support one another through the sharing of ideas. You can work together to bring recommendations to the school board and your local legislature on the topic of bullying and children with special needs.
2. Become familiar with the statistics on bullying and children with special needs. Educate your school district, including the teachers and the community. Bring in speakers to address the topic.
3. Take part in community functions and activities and figure out how to give visibility to your children as well. Research shows that when children with a disability or chronic condition are restricted from participating in school activities, their risk of being bullied jumps by 30%.
4. Demand that your school district adopt anti-bullying projects that address the issues of children with special needs. Advocating for your special needs child will benefit all children in the district. Win-win!
5. Write letters to policy-makers regarding bullying and children with special needs.Request that federal and state funds be used to expand the research in this area. Ask that anti-bullying programs used in the schools be effective in reducing the vulnerabilities of children with special needs.