According to Scholastic (www.scholastic.com/resources/article/bullying), “Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another child. It can be verbal, psychological, or physical.” A 2009 University of Behavioral Health at Denton survey found that 18 percent of school-age children reported being bullied at least once during their school year. (The Gainesville Daily Register, “Survey Shows 18 percent of Texas students bullied”, January 31, 2011).
The percentage of children who experience teasing and bullying could predictably be higher for those with speech and language disorders. In 1999, the British Psychological Society published a study that found 83% of adult who stutter experienced bullying as children. (“Stammerers targeted by school bullies” by John Carvel for The Guardian, June 4, 1999). The bullying included “name-calling, threats, theft of belongings, and physical aggression.” A large percentage of those surveyed experienced bullying everyday and almost all had some form of taunting at least once per week. Additionally, many study participants reported life-long effects with self-esteem and disturbing memories of the bullying. One adult male even admitted to a suicide attempt.
Here are some resources that are readily available to help with bullying:
Full credit to: Helping Children Deal With Teasing and Bullying (ASHA Leader, June 7, 2011. “Teasing and Bullying” by Judith Maginnis Kuster)
“Trouble at Recess” is a free downloadable book from the Stuttering Foundation about being teased “www.stutteringhelp.org/Portals/English/book0034.pdf)
“Just for Kids” lists children’s responses to how they have been teased, how they feel when being teased, and what they can do when they are teased – and invites children to submit their own responses (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/kids/kids.html#teasing).
Did you or someone you know deal with bullying due to a speech disorder? Tell us about your experience.