Disable Bullying! Five easy steps anyone can take to help disable bullying:
Educate. Change starts with each individual. Stereotypes and misconceptions about disabilities and special needs still exist in our classrooms and communities. Parents, educators and community leaders should lead by example so others can follow in demystifying myths which perpetuate the problem. Learn about different special needs or disability awareness programs including www.pacer.org/bullying and www.gatepath.com/disthis.
Ask Questions. Many youth with special needs sometimes aren’t aware they are being bullied or language and speech delays affect communication. Caregivers and educators need to frame questions that allow insight into schoolyard or online activity. Learn more about the signs and a list of sample question.
Speak Up. If one suspects or witnesses a child with special needs being bullied, speak up, notify educators, parents, politicians or community leaders. Don’t be a bystander. A zero tolerance for bullies should exist in our communities. Write to local media, principals, legislatures or share your story on www.abilitypath.org.
Build CommUNITY. Children with special needs and their families are important member of each community. Invite them or their parents to participate in book clubs, PTA meetings, church groups, block parties, play dates and birthday parties. Get to know the neighbors regardless of their ability; it benefits the family, child with special needs AND the entire neighborhood as well. Students can create community by creating disability awareness programs or simply becoming a friend to a student with a disability. Civic leaders should always keep in mind this vulnerable demographic when voting or creating legislation to protect students. Connect with families in your community
Disable Bullying. Share the possibilities and successes of people with special needs through each person’s social network. Examples include:
- Write an inspiring blog on AbilityPath.org
- Join the Special Olympics and Best Buddies’ “Spread the Word to End the Word” petition
- Post Glee’s Lauren Potter’s “Disable Bullying” video on Facebook
Please help abilitypath.org continue to bring national awareness, quality information, and a voice to the issues of families with children of special needs by donating today.