How to protect your disabled child from bullying
One of the biggest worries of parents who send their disabled children to schools is whether they are going to be bullied. Obviously, they will try and protect their children as much as they can. Being bullied is a very sensitive issue. So when parents try and over protect them, it can cause more damage than good.
We have a long way to go when it comes to creating awareness about disabilities in society. In fact, teachers must be given awareness sessions because they are the ones who handles children with and without disabilities. Parents cannot always keep a look out at their children in schools. Also, people must understand and empathize. It is very important. I have noticed that many parents of disabled children stay aloof without socialising. Never do that. You must become a part of the society. That is how you can also become a tool in spreading awareness on disabilities- Sharda Ram, Founder, Aarambh.
Do you have a disabled child who is going to school? Are you worried about your child being bullied? Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your disabled child who is being bullied.
- Talk to your child and their peers- Before accusing another child of bullying, make sure that you gather all the information and evidence regarding the issue. In fact, most parents prefer talking to parents of the child who bullied. But it is always best to approach school authorities. Try and see if they can help out in the situation. More importantly, such incidents must not be repeated. Your child must be made aware of what they can expect when they join school. If you know your child's friends or others studying with him, try and reach out to them. Schools must be able to create awareness amongst kids about disabilities.
- Stay calm- No parent is OK with their child being bullied. When you hear how your child was bullied, you will become angry and irritated. Sometimes, you might even feel helpless that you couldn't be with your child during that time. But make sure that you stay calm and gather all the evidence against those who bullied your child. It is always better to think and act wisely rather than jumping into conclusions.
- Check on anti-bullying policies- Did you know that bullying someone is actually a criminal offence? There are many laws that protect disabled people from bullying. Most inclusive schools have policies that make sure that disabled children are safe and protected. Before seeking admission in a school, check out the anti-bullying policies.
- Surround the child with supportive people- It is extremely important that your child can reach out to someone in their school in case they are undergoing trauma. So make sure that they have good friends and teachers to whom they can reach out. They must also be closely monitored to make sure that they are not bullied by peers.
Salesh Dipak who has cerebral palsy, works with a media company in Chennai. He remembers that his school and college days were disappointing.
"When I was a child, I could not go to play like other children. So I used to stay back at home. For other children, I was always considered to be someone different. As a child, it used to affect me a lot. I used to feel bad. Kids used to look at me in an odd way, which many people do even now. But I have gotten used to it. I spent my childhood in isolation, both at school and college", says Salesh.