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Kids With Disabilities Face Fallout From Bullying, Exclusion


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Being left out or bullied is more likely to lead to depression in children with developmental disabilities than any facet of their condition, new research indicates.

The findings come from a study of 109 kids ages 8 to 17 with various special needs. Researchers asked the children and their parents to fill out questionnaires designed to identify signs of anxiety and depression. Then, the kids were screened to assess whether or not they were bullied or excluded by their peers.

“What is notable about these findings is that despite all the many challenges these children face in relation to their chronic medical or developmental diagnosis, being bullied or excluded by their peers were the factors most likely to predict whether or not they reported symptoms of depression,” said Margaret Ellis McKenna, a senior fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina who presented the research Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Boston.

Other factors that McKenna and her colleagues considered included age, gender and the presence of chronic health conditions, but none came close to the influence of the negative peer experiences.

Accordingly, the researchers said that children who report being bullied or excluded should be carefully observed for signs of depression or other internalizing behaviors.

“Professionals need to be particularly alert in screening for the presence of being bullied or ostracized in this already vulnerable group of students,” McKenna said.

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Comments (9 Responses)

  1. msamericanpatriot says:

    Like duh that is a no brainer.

  2. pam griffen says:

    especially when its the special ed teacher doing the bullying. where then?

  3. fairlady68 says:

    Well, this may seem like a “no brainer” to us on the autism spectrum but it’s not necessarily so to neurotypicals, who have no clue how much these kinds of activities can permanently damage the objects of the bullying.

  4. Tania says:

    This is not at all surprising. I have multiple physical disabilities, and elementary through high schools was sheer hell. Although I was intellectually ahead of many of my peers, I was regularly taunted as being a ‘retard.’ I was also shoved, yelled at, and generally harassed. Teachers were often my only friends. It was quite a relief to graduate from high school and enter college because, by that time, many of my peers had matured to the point that they started to realize the primary difference between us was the fact I used a wheelchair.

  5. Glen S says:

    More “us” against “them” mentality. Great! How about creating another “class” war in this country.

  6. Tessie Crosby says:

    Let’s hide them, let’s put them all in a very beautiful golden cage/jail and keep them away from society so they cannot be bullied, or maybe…just maybe we ought to teach the “normal” people to be kind, helpful, caring, understanding, and loving to one another. But wait! The school districts cannot put kids in regular classroom because “Normal” people, like white people in the 50’s, now any race but that is “Normal” are the superior people. Forget expecting responsibility, and humanity. Forget publishing those that are not kind, responsible, and grotesque. It is all about the me, myself, and I am entitled attitude…it is not about inconveniencing those “normal” people…so I guess we go back to the caging, seclusion, and maintaining the believe that those that are considered misfits, are just to hang out with misfits. GROW UP AMERICA! Stop being self center, selfish, and stop having this sense of entitlement…people with disability are here to stay, and on your face…on your face. Now families of people with disability should have the attitude of my son, brother, cousin has a disability therefore I am here to protect him/her. We are so stupid, and hypocritical. Like someone just told me a couple of days ago, put a leash on your child.

  7. Bag Lady says:

    Bulling has reached a high point in socitey, but it has always been around. I remember being bullied as I was groing up a number of times. I still remember who and when it happened. But the point is children who are develpmental disable are already and I agree with the word ostracized. As parents we must teach our children what is right and what is wrong. We must not uphold nagative behaviors from our children and educate them when it is something or someone they don’t understand. Learning and teaching starts at home. I was always told by my grandmother ” You do better when you know better”.

    Bag Lady

  8. Jon K. Evans says:

    I remember being left out of a softball game-by the Day Camp counselor that alleged that I couldn’t hit or field well enough to play. I reacted by hoping that my team would LOSE! MY TEAM LOST BADLY IN THE DOUBLEHEADER, AND WAS BARELY BEATEN IN THE SECOND GAME! Months prior, I was left out of a basketball game, and was restricted from Gym class for crying about it!

  9. Naomi says:

    My youngest son has Aspergers. He experienced significantly more bullying in private schools than in public schools. In second grade, I was summoned to the principal’s office and told that the private school was not equipped to teach a child like my son despite the fact that he was in the top reading group. I paid for private speech therapy and tutoring to keep him out of special ed. In third grade, we had a teacher at another private school who bullied my son all year. During the years that we were lucky enough to have good teachers, the bullying was not a problem. Children imitate the attitude and behaviors of their teachers and or parents. Teachers that value each student and refuse to tolerate bullying make a huge difference. My son found his niche in speech and drama. He won the ate oratory contest in high school with a speech on overcoming disability. He is a college student with a part time job selling cell phones and in his spar time he speaks to schools, colleges, and anyone who will listen on ASDs.

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