Children can be cruel. Although most of us have had at least one miserable experience of being picked on when we were children, this doesn’t mean that it is acceptable for children to behave this way. We know that kids tend to pick on those who are different from them. If this is happening to your child, there are some things you can do to help the situation.
Studies show that children who have special needs are 2 to 3 times more likely to be victims of bullying than are kids who have no special needs. There are children who will pick on kids simply because they notice a difference between that child and themselves. There are bullies who love to get a big, explosive, reaction from the kids that they target. Unfortunately, certain kinds of special needs include symptoms like a low frustration point, impulsiveness, and a tendency to misunderstand certain social cues. Ideally, the teachers and staff at the school would be putting a stop to these kinds of situations, but this doesn’t always happen.
In order to help your child, you need to find out what is going on. If your child comes to talk to you about being picked on at school, try and remain calm. It is normal to be angry about how your child was mistreated. However, if your child misinterprets your anger as being directed at her, then she will be less likely to talk to you about it if something else happens later. Instead, be supportive, and understanding.
What you do from here, depends on the situation. Is your child being picked on because of his or her food allergies? This seems to be a disturbing trend. It’s possible that your child’s classmates do not understand what an allergy is, or how serious it can be. You might be able to work with your child’s teacher to create a short lesson that can help educate the kids in your child’s class about allergies. If they can understand that your child isn’t refusing food because he or she is a picky eater, it might curtail some of the teasing.
What if your child’s teacher is the one who is picking on your child? Unfortunately, there may be a teacher who doesn’t understand the special needs that your child has, (or who refuses to). Now is the time to get out your child’s IEP, and connect with the Principal, school psychologist, the head of the special needs department for your child’s school district, and your child’s teacher, and have a meeting. Sometimes, parents are going to have to push to make sure that the IEP is being followed. If this fails, you may need to see if you can move your child to special needs classroom in a different school.
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