Report: Special-needs students 2 to 3 times more likely to be bullied than able-bodied kids
Special-needs students are more likely than other students to be bullied in school, according to a recent report published by AbilityPath.org, an online community for professionals and parents of children with special needs.
The release of “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” was timed with a special-needs-centric anti-bullying campaign launched Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
The report was sponsored by Best Buddies, the Special Olympics, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson and Robin Sinkhorn, mother of “Glee” star Lauren Potter, who has Down syndrome and has recently received bullying messages on her Facebook page, according to CNN.
Highlights from the AbilityPath report:
- In 2009 researchers found that only 10 studies had been conducted in the U.S. on bullying and developmental disabilities, but all studies demonstrated that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be victims of bullying than their non-disabled peers. They also found that the bullying experienced by these children was chronic in nature often directly related to their disabilities.
- A 2009 Massachusetts Advocates for Children survey of 400 parents of children with autism in the state found that 88 percent of autistic children have been bullied at school verbally and/or physically.
- 43 percent of special needs students (ages 6-17) said they were bullied compared to 32 percent of non-special needs students
- 65 percent of parents of children with Asperger’s syndrome reported their students had been victimized by peers “in some way” within the last year
- 47 percent of parents reported their children had been hit by peers or sibling
- 9 percent of special needs students were attacked by a gang and hurt in their “private parts”
- 12 percent of special needs parents said their child had never been invited to a birthday party
- 6 percent of special needs students reported almost always being picked last for teams
- 3 percent of special needs students said they ate lunch alone every day
Check out more stats from the here (PDF).
Speier, Sinkhorn and Potter testified before Congress in support of a new bill that would require schools receiving federal funding to report the number of bullying incidents and whether the victims are children with special needs.
Here’s a Fox 9 News video showing “Glee” actress Lauren Potter testifying before Congress on her experience with bullying in school:
School bullying has been on Congress’ agenda lately. Last week, the Obama administration held the first anti-bullying conference at the White House following a recent spate of high-profile teen suicides that stemmed from bullying in school. At the conference Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban discrimination in public schools against LGBT students.