It’s sad but true. Studies have repeatedly found that children with disabilities are 2-3 times more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers. Now that school is back in session, and the 10th anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month is approaching, it’s incumbent upon teachers, therapists and parents to be on the lookout for signs that their student, son or daughter is being bullied.
Once viewed as a universal rite of passage, in recent years, the destructive impact of bullying is finally receiving the attention it deserves. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, “students who are bullied are more likely to experience low self-esteem and isolation, perform poorly in school, have few friends in school, have a negative view of school, experience physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, or problems sleeping), and to experience mental health issues (such as depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety.”
Compounding the effects of bullying, are today’s social media platforms. In past generations, children who were bullied at school for instance, might find refuge in their homes. But the prevalence of cyber-bullying, and the 24 hour nature of digital communication means that victims of bullying may find themselves with no place to hide.