Students who are perceived as “different” by their peers are more prone to bullying. Bullying can include physical aggression, name-calling, exclusionary behaviours, and cyber-bullying through social media or text messages.
Which children are vulnerable to bullying? Kids with physical disabilities, social difficulties, socioeconomic gaps between them and classmates, and kids with learning differences are among the students who are frequently targeted.
Children who with conditions such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning differences are especially vulnerable, as are those on the Autism spectrum.
The impact of bullying
Bullying has far-reaching consequences, ranging from physical pain, anxiety, school avoidance, depression, and poorer learning outcomes. The bullied child may act out or withdraw, straining already fragile peer relationships, and setting the stage for more bullying.
According to data presented in Public Safety Canada, long-term effects of bullying include depression, loss of self-esteem, aggression, and in some cases, suicide.
Children with learning differences are especially vulnerable. In an increasingly competitive academic environment, children who fall behind academically could end up being the target of bullies.
While academic competitions and honor rolls may be good for high-achieving students, a learning-disabled student may struggle emotionally with their results and grade reports. No child wants to feel “different” or left out.
Identifying the root of the problem
For students with suspected learning differences, a psycho-educational learning assessment is an excellent first step. The assessment will help identify the root cause of a student’s learning and behavioural challenges.
Next, a customized learning plan is created, giving the student specialized assistance in addressing areas of concern and providing a level academic playing field. A customized learning plan will also help the student address social challenges that can come in tandem with learning differences.
Over time, a shy or school-averse student may gain confidence as they learn to master subjects and concepts that were previously difficult for them. This newfound confidence and sense of “I can do it!” will carry over to peer relationships and making them less of a target of bullies.
Students with learning differences are often quite intelligent, and a well-structured learning program will help the student harness their innate intelligence while gaining mastery over previously difficult subjects.
Students learn to work with their learning differences, not against them.
Programs such as Halifax Learning’s online learning, school readiness, and SpellRead activities can help a struggling reader through a customized program suited to their needs and makes an excellent supplement to their school-based learning program.
Students who struggle with speech patterns and issues can benefit from our speech programs. They will gain confidence and be more likely to interact with peers, making them feel less “different” over time.
Children with learning differences often end up the target of bullies. By addressing their unique needs and strengths, learning-challenged students can experience greater confidence and self-esteem as they master topics previously difficult for them.
Contact us today to find out how our programs can help your student reach their full potential--inside and outside of school.