Bullying is usually common among teenagers or rather school going children. Bullies don’t just pick any student, however their target is usually kids who seem to be less powerful, unpopular and not as strong as they are. In most cases, bullies target those who look “different”.
Everyone is different and unique in their own ways, but having a disability can easily make a child a target for bullies.
What is Bullying?
Bullying may be considered harassment when it is based on a student’s disability, color, race, national origin, sex, or religion.
It can also be described as a disrespectful relationship problem that occurs when one or more children repeatedly use antagonistic behavior to manipulate, upset, or harm another child who is vulnerable because of his or her physical, mental, or social features.
Types of Bullying
Disabled Children can be bullied in a number of ways including:
Physical bullying – which involves inflicting bodily harm or destroying or taking away their personal possessions. These may be experienced in the form of; kicking, pinching, spitting, taking or breaking someone’s things, and making mean or rude hand gestures
Verbal bullying – this involves saying or writing mean things to someone, it could be; inappropriate sexual comments, teasing, name-calling, mocking, and threats to cause harm.
Social bullying – which is sometimes also referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships, this may include, leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public.
All this types of bullying may cause great harm to a child. Cyber bullying falls under both Verbal and social bullying as it can include intimidating, embarrassing, or insulting emails, texts or videos.
Effects of Bullying on Children with Disabilities
Depression – bullying may affect a child’s mental health. Children who are bullied are likely to face many social and emotional risks, including depression or anxiety, loneliness and having low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem – verbal and social bullying may lead to low self-esteem. The child may start isolating him/herself from peers, family and feel bad about their physical appearances and nature, in most cases these kids stay absent from school, hate school, perform poorly in school and some even dropout because the schools are bullying dens.
Suicidal Thoughts – when a child with disability is bullied, he/she may fall into deep depression which may lead to suicidal thoughts. The fact that they cannot change their physical appearances and various disabilities is the main reason for these suicidal thoughts. Bullying one with their differences prevents them from accepting themselves.
Other effects may include:
- Frequent headaches
- Lack of appetite
Bullying is something that happens a lot but people tend to brush it off. It is only the victims of bullying who know the impacts of this evil that has found its way into our schools and communities eating up our morals, love and care for each other.
It is quite a relief that countries around the world such as Canada, are now taking up actions on bullying as a priority in children’s health to prevent and manage the bullying in our schools and communities.
Having our countries stop bullying especially for Children with Disabilities is a good thing, however, it should start from us. Sensitizing our children, friends and relatives against bullying and showing them the beauty in being different can go a long way in stopping this act. This will help the younger generation grow knowing that disability is just as beautiful as being born normal.
By: Linzer Kibebe (firstname.lastname@example.org )