Dec 10, 2020
Episode 67: Bullying Prevention With Guest Dr. Claire Thomas-Duckwitz
In this episode, we discuss eliminating bullying against students with special needs. Guest Dr. Claire Thomas-Duckwitz defines bullying as being mean on purpose, imbalance of power, being one-sided, and happening over and over again. An enormous percentage of children with special needs reported being bullied in school, so it is even more important to have a bullying prevention program in schools. Bullying prevention programs should include weekly instruction around concepts, embedding those concepts into the classroom discussions, skill building, good/effective playground supervision, noticing good behaviors, communication between paraprofessionals and teachers, parent training and meetings, the school spending time on positive values, and having positive relationships with the students.
Parent education should include educating parents on what bullying is, sending home letters to parents of topics to think about, and training parents on how to be advocates for your kids. It is important that teachers get training on how to respond to bullying. Training kids how to be specific about their words, choosing the right moment to report it, training kids how to be upstanders, explaining to kids what the special needs are/mean and why certain behaviors occur, ensuring that there is no opportunity for retaliation, and adequate supervision of children in the halls are all key. Parents should use authoritative parenting and provide their children with warmth. Schools should have a clear written bullying policy, have an evidence based bullying curriculum, talk about what it means to be an upstander, have advocacy goals should be included in the IEP, teach what bullying is and isn’t and use precise language, teach children how to report mean behaviors, and teach them who to report bullying to. After the child has been bullied, validate their feelings, teach the kids to report the bullying, report the bullying yourself, and/or role play with your child what to do.
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