My son was bullied at school because of his disability. The boy, who was bullying him, used to hit and threaten him in the playground. I and the school worked together to stop the bullying…
“My son has Bladder Exstrophy and Epispadias. This is a hidden disability. He was incontinent as a result of his medical condition when he started school and wore nappies. One day at school a boy in his class saw the top of his nappy when he bent down. The boy then used to hit and threaten him in the playground saying he would tell the rest of the class that he was a baby and that he wore nappies if he didn’t give him his crisps.
I noticed a change in his behaviour. He became withdrawn. I tried to talk to him about what was going on. I didn’t push the issue if he was reluctant to talk, I’d wait for him to open up. I asked questions about his day. Maybe play a game with him and throw in the odd question. I used to ask questions like ‘what did you have for lunch today?’, ‘who did you play with?’. I didn’t directly ask ‘are you being bullied?’ I felt that this might introduce the idea that he could be a victim of bullying.
When I found out what was happening, I went straight to the teacher, headteacher and my son’s support staff. I found the school very responsive and positive. They dealt with the situation quickly and were open to listening to my suggestions.
They created hospital corner in the classroom and the teacher and school nurse talked about the condition. They didn’t mention all aspects of the condition just what was relevant and appropriate for the age of the children.
I wanted to include him in everything that was going on to resolve the situation. I didn’t want to do anything behind his back. I’ve always felt it was important to talk to my son from a very early age about his condition and we continued to talk about it. I also got books out of the library to use with him to explain why everyone is different and unique to build his self-confidence.
The problem was resolved but I still felt anxious about the bullying. I was worried if it was still continuing, is he being left out, is he interacting with other children? I spoke to the school about this and they let me come in at lunchtime and discreetly watch my son in the playground so I could see him playing with other children.”