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WHY BULLY A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY

05/15/12

Permalink 01:39:00 pm, by eleanor Email , 672 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: thoughts, Coping, Advocacy, adapting activities

WHY BULLY A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY

Or why bully anyone at all. I've never understood why some people belittle or bully other people. But when they do it to a person with a disability to me it's beyond being mean it's cruel.There was a recent article "Children With Autism Are Often Targeted By Bullies " in NPR recently .  http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/04/23/151037898/children-with-autism-are-often-targeted-by-bullies?ft=3&f=111787346&sc=nl&cc=es-20120429      

This article is about a personal experience of a child with Autism who wanted to make friends. But all she found in return to her overtures to be friendly was to be bullied back. Her concerned mom pulled her out of the school, quit her job and home schooled her for two years. Then concerned about her daughters socialization needs placed in a school for kids with autism. And it's been a successful fit. Her daughter is happy and making friends.

Being able to socialize and have a few close friends is critical for good social development, mental health, self esteem and physical health. And bullying a person can thwart this opportunity and can do long lasting harm to them. Many people think of bullying as just a short term hurt.

Teasing someone is a short term hurt. You can tease a friend or relative as well as someone you don't like. But its usually someone you have good feelings for.

But bullying is well beyond teasing. It's a method to amuse yourself by putting down another person who you see as weaker. And it is used to increase your own sense of power.It can be both verbal or physical.

People with disabilities seem to be a favorite choice of bullies. Lets face it people with disabilities can be seen to be different. And to some people the first response to different is a negative emotion. With time that response to something different in that person may be modified to liking, respect or indifference.

But unfortunately some people do not appear to be capable of moving beyond that negative response to curiosity, understanding and empathy. Instead of extending a hand they extend hatred and vitriol.

Why some people are like that I do not know. Do they learn it at home or go along with friends to be popular? The article was talking about a young school child. And this is one of many articles. In fact the statistics show that  80-90 % of children with a disability are bullied.And this is world wide. A very good article on learning disabled children from Great Britain shows that 82% are being bullied. For more information go to this article from The Guardian in Great Britain. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/jun/18/schools.children

Now we all know sadly, bullies do not always outgrow this addictive negative behavior. So these disabled children may experience many more episodes throughout their life. These children have to learn to have a thick skin and strategies to counteract the negativity as they continue to be in society. There are organizations that help with this like the Bully Free World. Check out their extremely helpful website below.

http://specialneeds.thebullyproject.com/toolkit

And on a personal level promise to never bully a person and never turn the other way either. Go that extra mile to learn about other people with disabilities, befriend some and benefit from taking the time to get to know them.

Friends of the Handicapped
                                          
           Author Unknown

Blessed are those who take the time
To listen to difficult speech,
For you help me to know that
if I persevere,
I can be understood.
Blessed are you who never bid me to hurry up
or take my tasks from me
For my failures will be outweighed
By the times I surprise myself and you.
Blessed are you who asked for my help
For my greatest need is to be needed.
Blessed are you who understand that it is
difficult for me to put thoughts into words.
Blessed are you who with a smile encourage
me to try once more.
Blessed are you who never remind me that today
I asked the same question twice,
Blessed are you who respect me and love me
just as I am.

ellie

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