TUSTIN, Calif.--()--It is estimated that one in four students are bullied by their peers. As shocking as that statistic may be, compare it to the findings of a recent survey that states 60 percent of teens with an intellectual disability report being bullied, while about half of students with autism, speech impairments and learning disabilities were victimized. (Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine)
“Bullying can be embarrassing, or in the case of children with developmental or intellectual disabilities, they may not be able to let you know there’s a problem, so directly asking your child to tell you he’s being bullied may not elicit the truth”
In support of National Bullying Prevention Month, GET SAFE™ founder and executive director Stuart “Safety Stu” Haskin and his team are on a mission this October to stem this rising epidemic and arm children, teens and young adults, as well as their parents and caregivers, with the tools they need to get safe, be safe and stay safe when it comes to bullying. In particular, GET SAFE is focusing on raising the general public’s awareness of recent statistics showing teens with disabilities face higher rates of bullying.
“Schools and other community organizations need anti-bullying programs targeted toward heightening awareness and acceptance of those who may act, communicate, or learn a little differently than others,” Haskin said. “It isn’t enough anymore for teachers to ask their students to simply treat others how they’d like to be treated.”
Throughout October, Haskin will be traveling California speaking to print and broadcast audiences about our nation’s bullying problem: what it is; how to prevent and/or recognize it; and what to do if your child tells you he or she is being bullied. Haskin’s safety theme for October is to keep the communication lines open and don’t push or insist your child admit he or she is being bullied just because you suspect it. To help, GET SAFE offers a free Bullying Prevention Tip Sheet on its website at www.getsafeusa.com.
“Bullying can be embarrassing, or in the case of children with developmental or intellectual disabilities, they may not be able to let you know there’s a problem, so directly asking your child to tell you he’s being bullied may not elicit the truth,” he said. “Try getting them to open up by asking leading questions—what’s going on at school, after school, at work and with their friends. As a general rule, drastic changes in your child’s personality or typical behavior are telling.”
Based in Tustin, GET SAFE has provided safety education, training and awareness programs for thousands of Southern Californian youths during the past 20 years, empowering them to be free-from-fear in all aspects of their lives. GET SAFE programs raise self-confidence by educating youth about important safety topics, including violence prevention and physical, emotional and cyber-bullying. Presented in a light-hearted manner, GET SAFE training makes topics like bullying-prevention and intervention both fun and instructive.
“Our approach is less about lecturing and more about interactivity and empowerment so children will leave class feeling motivated to keep looking after one another long after we’ve left,” Haskin said.
For more information on GET SAFE programs, please visit www.getsafeusa.com.