Recently the U.S. Department of Education sent guidance from the director of the Office of Special Education Programs, Ruth Ryder, to all public schools stating that schools are required to provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities. One major reason these supports are needed is because these students are frequently targets for bullying.
Common Targets of Bullying
It is no secret that the favorite target of most bullies is students with disabilities. In fact, although only ten U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their non disabled peers. (Disabilities: Insights from Across Fields and Around the World; Marshall, Kendall, Banks & Gover (Eds.), 2009 )
One study shows that 60 percent of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly, compared with 25 percent of all students (Source: British Journal of Learning Support, 2008). That being said, it is time that we have a frank discussion on the bullying process and how to deal with it in a positive way. After all, you can’t discipline your way out of this problem.
A starting point in the bullying process is to properly identify the unmet needs of both parties in the process—the bully or Giver and the target or Receiver—and then provide skill intervention to address those unmet needs. Once these needs have been identified the intervention process can begin. A properly designed intervention system will take the needs of both the Giver and the Receiver and create an positive intervention system that helps build a healthy personality for both.
Identifying Individual Needs in the Bullying Process
One of the best ways to identify individual personal needs in the bullying prevention process is to use an evidence-based assessment. Not just any assessment, but one that focuses on developing a healthy personality outside of the bullying process. The Bullying Prevention Map™ is such an assessment. The focus of the assessment is on the social/emotional needs involved in the bullying process. The scales in the assessment correlate to positive intervention and the supports needed to help overcome the bulling process. Our new Bullying Prevention Program provides an evidence-based assessment that is connected to a skill intervention system.