When your child has a disability, especially one that is physical in nature, other school children notice. Children can be very mean and target those children with disabilities because they aren’t the same as them. Teasing and taunting happens regularly to children with disabilities, but there are ways to handle and curb the teasing in school.
Teasing Children with Disabilities: The disabled child’s attitude
This is the most important way to handle teasing at school due to a child’s disability. The afflicted child needs to have a positive, almost proud, attitude in school. The disabled child’s family needs to be positive and supportive as well.
If the disabled child or the family acts as if the particular disability is shameful, other children at school will pick up on that and begin teasing. But if the disabled child and her family is positive, school children are less likely to find something to tease about.
Teasing Children with Disabilities: Teach about the disability
School children poke fun at things they don’t understand, including your child’s disability. By contacting the school administration, consider holding an inservice to teach the other school children about your child’s disability. At the very least, go into your disabled child’s classroom and teach his classmates about your child’s affliction.
Teasing Children with Disabilities: Power in numbers
Chances are there are other children in your child’s school who share his disability. Even if your child is the only one with that particular disability, there are others who are disabled. By getting these disabled children together to talk about the different issues each is facing, your disabled child won’t be or feel alone.
Teasing Children with Disabilities: Avoid unnecessary attention
This is something I’m currently battling at my son’s school. He has corrective casts on both his legs due to his idiopathic toe walking , and his teacher is being very overprotective. With my son’s walking boots on, his casts are virtually invisible. Yet his teacher continues to draw attention to him and his disability by singling him out. She segregated his desk away from the other children so no one would bump into him. She wouldn’t let him go outside for recess for fear of him getting hurt. His physical education teacher won’t let him play in gym class.
All these things draw unnecessary attention to my son’s disability. He’s perfectly able to play outside, as long as he has plastic bags on his casts to prevent them from getting wet from the snow. He’s able to run and play, just not as fast as the other kids. He doesn’t have any balance issues due to his casts that any other child his age would encounter.
Work with your child’s school administration from the beginning to make it clear what your disabled child’s special needs are. Be sure to mention things she can do, despite her disability. Obviously you won’t be able to circumvent all issues of unnecessary attention, but by being honest and explaining the condition, you will be able to prevent your disabled child from being put in the spotlight unnecessarily.
Teasing Children with Disabilities: Acceptance
With knowledge comes understanding, and with understanding comes acceptance. This is true in almost every case, but especially true when dealing with school children. If you follow the steps and maintain a positive attitude, teach the school children about your child’s disability, find a peer group for your disabled child, and limit the amount of unnecessary attention your disabled child receives, you will be able to curb the amount of teasing your disabled child has to endure in school.