Recent research has found that disabled children are more likely to face bullying than their peers without disabilities. Those numbers include children with learning disabilities.
The problem of bullying affects nearly all students, but disabled children are more likely to be affected throughout their school years. In recent surveys taken in New England schools, hey are about 20 percent more likely to report being bullied than other students. Those numbers remain consistent from third through 12th grades.
“Students with disabilities need to be taught skills to respond appropriately to bullying. They need to know what to do, how to respond and who to tell,” said study co-author Chad Rose.
“But they don’t have those response skills, and that perpetuates this gap,” said Rose, an assistant professor of special education with the University of Missouri College of Education.
Rose and University of Florida co-author Nicholas Gage analyzed results from surveys compiled during 2011-2013 from over 6,500 students in grades K-12. Sixteen percent of the students were identified as disabled. Two thirds received free or low-priced lunches, 14 percent were black, 36 percent were white, and 43 percent of the participants were Latino.
Online harassment was not included in the questions. Surveys asked whether students had been hit, threatened, had hurt feelings, or experienced lies and rumors spread about them. They were also asked if they had bullied others.
“We didn’t primarily focus on those with visual, hearing or orthopedic impairments,” said Rose. “Most of the students had learning and emotional disabilities like ADHD and autism.”