How bullying can affect children with disabilities The impact of bullying on disabled children may be different to the impact of bullying on other children. This is because their condition may be reinforced or worsened by the bullying.
For example a child with a social communication disorder may already be reluctant to mix in social situations but because of bullying they’ve experienced they withdraw further. This may mean they lose the opportunity to develop their social skills and therefore feel less confident in social situations which then exacerbates the problem.
Some of the parents spoke of the effects the bullying had on their children:
“She struggles with friendships and sustaining friendships. She’s lost her self-esteem.”
“She now attends school part time and attends a special school for one day a week. She also receives counselling. Everyone underestimated the damage done by the bullying.”
Many of their children were receiving support with these effects:
“She has a mentor at the school which she sees once a week. They work on building her self-esteem and self-worth and help with friendships.”
“They worked on her confidence and gradually brought her out of herself, building up the confidence she lost. It’s so nice to see the difference.”
“The school uses the SEAL programme. They’re really proactive using it which can only be a bonus, so I’m hoping that will filter through. There’s a lovely atmosphere in the school and they do a lot of anti-bullying work in the classroom.”
Children and young people can be positively supported through these experiences and there are ways to develop their confidence and self esteem. There is a lot of work that schools and you, as a parent, can do to help with this