Bullying: On Our Radar

There is a good chance that each of you remembers at least one school bully while growing up. You’ve also probably heard one or more horrendous stories in the news about children who have been bullied. Bullying is a problem that occurs not only in the U.S. Just recently, Chilean newspapers reported a shocking story about a nine-year-old boy who died following cerebral hemorrhage which resulted from a gruesome act of bullying. This entry is for him and for all who suffer from bullying.

In our profession, bullying needs to be on our radar. I think back to when I worked as an SLP in the schools and wonder how many children on my caseload might have been affected by bullying without my knowledge. It’s an issue that I’ve always discussed with students in my fluency classes, but having learned more about the relationship between bullying and other disabilities, I will definitely be integrating the topic into other courses as well.

According to a review of research by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, children with disabilities are at significantly higher risk of being bullied than children without disabilities. According to the Massachusetts Advocacy for Children (2009), for example, 88% of children with autism sampled were reported to have been victims of bullying. Even in typically developing children, bullying has a negative impact not only on social-emotional development, but also on academic achievement. Therefore, it is a serious problem that further compounds the difficulties which children with disabilities already experience.

Because bullying can interfere with children’s access to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE), the PACER Center has put together a document on The Individualized Education

Program (IEP) and Bullying which provides valuable strategies that can be included in a child’s IEPs to help stop the bullying that he/she experiences. For example, strategies may include allowing the child to leave class early to avoid the bully in the hallway between classes, holding in-services for staff and students about policies regarding bullying, and shadowing of the child in the lunchroom or playground where the bullying typically happens.

Again, bullying is a common problem for which SLPs should be on the lookout. Hopefully, we will see more research conducted to better understand what drives people to bully and how professionals can help them while enhancing prevention.

Additional helpful websites:

In Other Languages

www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/publications/spanish-materials.asp

www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/publications/somali-materials.asp

Policies and Laws by State

www.stopbullying.gov/laws

Helping Kids Deal with Bullying

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html

Autism and Safety

www.nationalautismassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/NAA-Bullying-Brochure.pdf

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Bullying and the Child with Special Needs

www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/learning–schools/bullying/articles/walk-a-mile-in-their-shoes.pdf

Advertisements

About Brenda K. Gorman

Dr. Gorman is an Associate Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. She completed her Master’s and Doctorate with a multicultural/bilingual specialization in Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Texas at Austin. Brenda worked for many years as a bilingual (Spanish-English) speech-language pathologist serving diverse caseloads for public school districts, early intervention agencies, and a company which she co-founded in 2001. She has an extensive background in working with ELLs and providing professional development to teachers who work with ELLs, and she serves as a clinical advisor to Lingua Health and Grupo Lingua. Brenda has conducted research, published, and presented on topics related to speech and language assessment and intervention in bilingual populations and language and literacy development and disorders. She has taught courses in numerous topic areas ranging from assessment and intervention in bilingual populations, child language and literacy disorders, speech sound disorders, fluency, to adult language disorders and AAC. She co-directed the Reading Acquisition for Spanish Speakers Program (RASPA) and an Early Reading First (ERF) project funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education while at Marquette University, where she earned tenure in 2013. Brenda is now at Elmhurst College, where she is investigating language and literacy assessment and intervention in bilinguals and co-developing a dual-language (Spanish-English) language and literacy curriculum for preschoolers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s