The mere mention of “bullying” conjures up ugly images, painful feelings, and frightening scenarios, and it jumpstarts our protective instincts. Bullying is a widespread problem throughout our schools and communities and its effects can have lifelong repercussions. Making matters worse, students with disabilities are two to three times as likely to be bullied as their peers (source: Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, www.pacer.org). They are often perceived as “different” (unpopular, weak, or unable to defend themselves) due to difficulties with social, motor, communication, intellectual, emotional, or physical skills.
Developmental Disabilities Area Board 10 of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities has summarized into one document the best anti-bullying practices and strategies as they pertain to students with developmental disabilities, compiled from dozens of articles, manuals, and curricula. The booklet starts with a section for everyone: students, parents, and school staff. It includes bullying basics (definitions, symptoms, and laws) and a must-read section on Bystander Training/Peer Advocacy models. This concept, perhaps more than any other, has proven to be a key ingredient in reducing, and even in some cases, ending bullying.
Read the document: Enough Is Enough