Bullying is defined as any unwanted aggressive behavior among school aged children. Adults can also be exposed to workplace bullying!
Bullying usually involves a real or perceived power trip! This means that the person bullying usually like to stand over the person they are bullying to make themselves feel better or look better!
Children with disabilities and special needs are at an increased risk of being bullied by other children.
Children with disabilities and special needs can be bullied because of their physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional or sensory conditions.
All children deserve to and should grow up free of fear, violence, and bullying.
When a child is bullied at school, it not only affects the physical and emotional well-being of the child but also creates an unsafe and fearful environment for your child!
For younger children, bullying can be repeated. Meaning if a child is bullied over a long period, they are more likely to repeat this type of behavior against someone else.
It is a known and proven fact that children with disabilities are more likely to be affected by and exposed to bullying.
Types Of Bullying
Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, biting, tripping, pinching, pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying is anything that is physical force or of a physical nature that is unwanted aggressive behavior.
Verbal bullying is using words in a nasty manner to gain power over someone else. This can be in the form of insults, teasing, put downs, yelling, screaming. Verbal abuse is a horrible thing to endure and it can destroy lives and inhibit learning!
Social bullying is basically excluding a person from a social circle. This also includes spreading rumors, embarrassing a person in public, encouraging others to avoid or express negative behavior towards a certain person. This is a horrible thing to experience! Growing up, I saw a lot of this at school!
Cyber bullying is bullying through using electronic technology! This not only includes technology such as smart phones, computers, and tablets but the communication tools that are found on these technology devices! These communication tools include text messages, Facebook, twitter, messenger, chat sites and even email!
It is very sad to see that, these days there has been a lot of teen suicides and malicious events that have resulted from cyber bullying! It is important, to equip your child with the knowledge and support to walk away from these platforms if this is happening
Is My Child Being Bullied?
Things to watch out for when you think that your child may be the subject of bullying include:
Look Out For Marks On Your Child
These include bruises, marks, scratches, bites etc.
Listen To What Your Child Is Telling You
Ask your child what happened. You know yourself what a bite mark looks like, so if your child says they fell over but it’s a bit mark than your known something is up!
Pay Attention To Your Child’s Mood
Is your child not themselves? Do they not want to do something that they used to love doing? All these factors can tell you that something is going on that shouldn’t be!
Pay Attention To Your Child’s Behavior
Is your child sticking to themselves, changed friends, is lashing out at other brothers and sisters or even your? Changes in behavior can also show you that something is not right with your child!
My son Coleby sometimes comes home very hyped up! I generally know by this change in behavior that he had a different teacher in his room today! After his bullying episode recently, he was hitting his brother for no reason at all!
Monitor Social Media Use
If my children ever have Facebook or use any type of social media, I want to be part of theirs! I don’t want to be the nosy mum! But I do want to know that they are not being bullied or humiliated online! I want to make sure that their emotional health is not affected by bullying I can’t see!
Why Does Bullying Happen?
Bullying behavior can arise from any distrust, fear, misunderstanding, jealousy or even lack of knowledge about a certain situation!
Bullying can also occur because the child, who is the bully, is lacking attention from a parent or caregiver at home and is lashing out at others!
Sometimes, the child who is the bully is seeing anger and violence at home! They then repeat this behavior because they see this at home and think it is normal behavior! They usually act out against others at school!
I Have A Question For You!
What Happens When A Special Needs Child Is Being Bullied By Another Special Needs Child?
Recently, my son Coleby came home with a bite mark on his face, scratches on his neck and back!
This was done by another child with special needs!
My first reaction was to protect my son! Followed by so many questions!
Why did this happen?
Who did this?
Was my son doing something wrong?
Where were the care givers?
What was done about this?
Now, I previously stated that the definition of bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior among school aged children.
Now, this was definitely unwanted aggressive behavior! But do we really classify this as bullying??
I was told by the classroom teacher, that this was not provoked by my son. That the child who bit my son was having a meltdown!
Now a meltdown usually occurs due to a reaction to feeling overwhelmed! A meltdown can happen because the environment can be too loud, routine is not followed, even something small like changing a seat or using the wrong colored pencil can trigger a meltdown!
A meltdown can be in the form of yelling, crying, lashing out or running away!
So, my son Coleby was sitting at his desk, when the other child had a meltdown and seen my son as an easy target to lash out!
So What Do I Do?
It wasn’t as if, this other child knew entirely what they were doing! This child did not pick my son and bully him intentionally! My son just become part of their meltdown!
Now this has happened before! With the same child!
You may not class this as bullying, but according to the definition of bullying, it is! My child was inflicted with unwanted aggressive behavior which involved a power trip. My child is the quiet kid who generally sits there with his hands over his ears!
From previous incidents, there was a plan put in place to redirect the other child’s behavior away from my son and other children in the class. But with so many multi need’s children in the class this is not always possible!
Ways To Deal With Bullying
Yes, you have every right to be upset! You can go to the school and jump up and down and make a huge deal but, think about it. Is that really going to help the situation?
What has happened, has happened! You can’t change it now but you can stop it from happening in the future!
So stay calm, remain professional and use this as a learning opportunity!
Talk with your child about what has happened and let them talk to you!
Talk with other children who are in your child’s circle of friends. Children know a lot of things and it is building trust with the children that make these situations easier! They may not feel like they can say anything, out of fear that it could happen to them.
Talk with class teachers and even the principal. This ensures that your concerns are documented and that the safety and well-being of your child is being up held. I talk with my children’s classroom teachers regularly and they know that I am easily approachable for any issue regarding my children.
Work out a plan with the school to ensure that everything is done to stop this happening again, not only to your child but to others!
Use This Situation As an Opportunity For Learning
Talk with your child about ways to deal with this should it happen again!
Teach your child that this behavior is wrong and that it shouldn’t be repeated towards anyone else!
If your child is bullied because of a disability or condition that they may have, use this as a way to promote awareness and educate others! For example: If your child is getting bullied because of the way they speak, then use this to promote awareness to other students! Possibly do a display in the library or ask the principal to have someone speak to students briefly at an assembly about certain disorders.
So, In Closing, I Ask You This…
Do you think a special need’s child being hurt, by another special need’s child, who is having a meltdown is classed as bullying or not?
Please feel free to leave your comment below! I would love to hear your opinion on this!