No parent wants to think about his or her child being bullied at school, but this is even more difficult to think about as a mom or a dad of a special needs child. Special needs children may have difficulty defending themselves against bullies who fight against them with their fists or their words. Here are some ways that parents can help their children stay safe as they head back to school.
Ideally, every school should have an anti-bullying policy in place. While some schools may not yet have a written policy, they should at least react appropriately when parents or students report an incident. Parents who cannot find a written policy should report any problems to the principal.
Many special needs children may feel that they cannot properly defend themselves against children who are stronger, bigger or faster with their words than they are. However, parents can give these children helpful hints for defusing certain situations, such as not talking back, staying calm and immediately walking over to an authority figure. Special needs children often do best when they have a chance to practice the plan before they need to use it.
Parents can help their children come up with strategies to avoid the bullying in the first place. For example, if they get bullied on the bus, they should try sitting in a different area. If they get bullied on the playground, they could try playing closer to the recess monitor.
Parents should keep a record of all bullying events, including times and places. This record should be shared with the teacher or principal. If school authorities do not take care of these problems, parents will have the record to share with an attorney.