Volume 8, Issue 2, Bullying and Children/Youth with Disabilities

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  The campaign on bullying awareness and prevention was created by Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) in 2006 as a one-week event that has now evolved into a month-long effort encouraging everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement.  PACER developed the initial campaign in response to the need to raise awareness of bullying, as it was historically viewed "a childhood rite of passage" and believed that bullying "made kids tougher", when the reality is that bullying has devastating effects such as school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression (http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm).  

In this edition of reSearch, we specifically explore the topic of bullying of children and youth with disabilities.  According to the PACER Center’s statistics on bullying, “nearly one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year—upwards of 13 million students...” and “children with disabilities are two to three more times likely to be bullied over their non-disabled peers” (http://www.pacer.org/bullying/about/media-kit/stats.asp).  Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time” and lists three types of bullying:  verbal, social, and physical that can take place before or after school hours, on the school grounds, on the bus, in the individual’s neighborhood, or on the Internet (http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html#types).  Children at risk of being bullying include but are not limited to:  “[being perceived] as different from their peers (e.g., overweight, underweight, wear their hair differently, wear different clothing or wear glasses, or come from a different race/ethnicity); seen as weak or not able to defend themselves; are depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem; have few friends or are less popular; do not socialize well with others; and or suffer an intellectual or developmental disability” (http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/bullying/conditioninfo/Pages/risk-factors).

This edition of reSearch provides a “snapshot” of research on bullying of children and youth with disabilities.  The combined search terms for this edition of reSearch included:  bullying; teasing; harassment; children, youth, and adolescences; and disabilities.  A listing of over 100 additional descriptor terms between the NARIC, ERIC, NCRTM, Campbell Collaboration, and PubMed databases can be found at the end of this document.

A search of the REHABDATA database resulted in 7 documents published between 2003 and 2012.  The ERIC database search resulted in 34 documents between 2003 and 2012.  A search of NCRTM and Campbell Collaboration database searches results in one document from 2011 and 2009, respectively.  Finally, a search of the PubMed database resulted in 9 documents between 2009 and 2013.  


Department of Health and Human Services.  (2013).  Find out what bullying is at StopBullying.gov.  Retrieved from http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html#types.  

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).  (2012).  What are risk factors for being bullied?  Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/bullying/conditioninfo/Pages/risk-factors.aspx.  

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.  (2013).  Bullying Statistics.  Retrieved from http://www.pacer.org/bullying/about/media-kit/stats.asp.  

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.  (2013).  October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  Retrieved from http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm.

NIDRR Funded Projects Related to Bullying and Children/Youth with Disabilities

In addition to document searches, we searched our NIDRR Program Database to locate grantees/projects related to bullying and children/youth with disabilities.  The search resulted in seven currently funded NIDRR  and four projects that are no longer active.  Project information and their publications are offered as additional resources for our patrons.

ADA National Network (Regional Centers I-X)
Phone:  800/949-4232
Email:  adata.org/content/email-us

Center for Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilities
Project Number: H133A100007
Phone: 301/424-2002, ext. 230.
Email: rluecking@transcen.org

Evaluation of “Project TEAM (Teens making Environmental and Activity Modifications)”: Effectiveness, Social Validity, and Feasibility
Project Number: H133G120091
Phone: 617/353-2702
Email: kramerj@bu.edu

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures: Supporting Successful Transition for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions
Project Number: H133B090019
Phone: 503/725-8313
Email: flemingd@pdx.edu

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities: Lifespan Health and Function
Project Number: H133B080009
Phone: 800/996-8845 (V), 312/413-1520 (V), 312/413-0453 (TTY)
Email: rrtcadd@uic.edu

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living
Project Number: H133B110006
Phone: 785/864-4095 (V/TTY)
Email: glen@ku.edu

Sustainable Implementation of Family-Centered Transition Planning for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Project Number: H133G110158
Phone: 603/228-2084
Email: david.hagner@unh.edu

These projects have completed their research activities ...

Pediatric Burn Injury Rehabilitation Model System
Project Number: H133A070026
Phone: 409/770-6718, 409/770-6731
Email: dherndon@utmb.edu, kepperso@utmb.edu

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Community Living and Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Project Number: H133B080005
Phone: 612/624-6024
Email: weste050@umn.edu

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Policies Affecting Families of Children with Disabilities
Project Number: H133B031133
Phone: 785/864-7600
Email: turnbull@ku.edu

The Transition of Pediatric Burn Survivors into Adulthood
Project Number: H133G990052
Email: wmeyer@utmb.edu
Phone: 409/747-8355

Documents from NARIC’s REHABDATA search listed are listed below:


Lindsay, S., & McPherson, A.C.  (2012).  Experiences of social exclusion and bullying at school among children and youth with cerebral palsy.   Disability and Rehabilitation, 34(2), 101-109.
NARIC Accession Number: J63212
ABSTRACT: Study explored the experiences of exclusion and bullying among children with disabilities. Fifteen children and youth with cerebral palsy provided data were collected through qualitative in-depth interviews and a focus group. Results showed that restrictions in the socio-contextual environment influenced the social exclusion that children experienced. Youth encountered social exclusion from both teachers and peers. Children reported that teachers’ attitudes toward children with disabilities often influenced the social exclusion experienced by peers. Bullies engaged in both implicit and explicit forms of social exclusion toward children with disabilities, which often led to verbal and physical bullying. The findings suggest that more opportunities for social inclusion are needed.


Coates, J., & Vickerman, P.  (2010).  Empowering children with special educational needs to speak up: Experiences of inclusive physical education.   Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(18), 1517-1526.
NARIC Accession Number: J59340
ABSTRACT: Study examined the perspectives of children with special educational needs (SEN) attending both mainstream and special schools in relation to their experiences of physical education (PE). Surveys were completed by 65 children with SEN between the ages and 7 and 14 years in two mainstream schools and follow-up by a focus group involving three 8-year-old children with SEN from one mainstream primary school. Results indicated that children with SEN in mainstream schools enjoy PE, although issues were raised regarding bullying and the appropriateness of activities in PE lessons. Children in the focus group offered suggestions about how to improve PE and make it more beneficial. The findings show how children are empowered through consultation, and are aware of their needs and abilities.


Holzbauer, J.J.  (2008).  Disability harassment in secondary schools: An exploratory study to identify the major types of student harassment and their occurrence.  
NARIC Accession Number: O17338
Project Number: H133F070033
Available in full-text at http://search.naric.com/research/rehab/download.cfm?ID=108397
ABSTRACT: Study identified the major types of disability harassment, the specific behaviors associated with each type, and how frequently the behaviors occurred in secondary schools. Data were obtained through focus groups conducted with adolescents and young adults with disabilities and with parents of students with disabilities. Results indicated that disability harassment in secondary schools is ubiquitous and it cuts across disability, gender, ethnicity, and school districts. Six major types of disability harassment were identified based on a continuum of least assertive to most aggressive: (1) pigeonhole, (2) abandon, (3) manipulate, (4) belittle, (5) scare, and (6) violate. Signature behaviors were also identified under each of the 6 major types and ranked from least to most severe. Thirty-one distinctive behaviors emerged from 169 total reports of harassment from participants. Three frequency of expression categories were analyzed (one, a few times, and many times) with the most striking discovery being that approximately 37 percent of the 169 expressions of harassment came from school staff (53) and both school staff and students (9). Implications indicate the necessity for the development of programs of intervention for students with disabilities and training in sensitivity and the law for student peers as well as school staff.


Lapidot-Lefler, N. & Reiter, S.  (2007).  Bullying among special education students with intellectual disabilities: Differences in social adjustment and social skills.   Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (formerly Mental Retardation), 45(3), Pgs. 174-181.
NARIC Accession Number: J52705
ABSTRACT: Study examined the differences between bullies and victims among 186 special education students with intellectual disabilities in terms of social adjustment and socials skills. Students were categorized into three subgroups for analysis: victim, bully, and both victim and bully. No significant difference was found in social skills between the three subgroups. However, bullies and victim-bullies exhibited significantly higher levels of challenging behaviors, such as temper tantrums, unruly and quarrelsome behavior, and a tendency to lie and steal. Significant correlations were also found among actions as a bully, violent behavior, and hyperactivity. Being a victim was correlated with emotional and interpersonal problems.


Heinrichs, R.R.  (2003).  A whole-school approach to bullying: Special considerations for children with exceptionalities.  Intervention in School and Clinic, 38(4), 195-204.
NARIC Accession Number: J44982
ABSTRACT: Article discusses key components of a whole-school approach to preventing bullying that focuses on children with special needs. Outlines key components of bullying prevention programs, and describes characteristics of bullies, targets, bystanders, and children with special needs. Preventive practices discussed include: establish class rules and meetings, have ongoing education teacher discussion, increase supervision in high-risk areas, implement formative consequences, train targets and bullies in social skills, and involve parents.

Migliore, E.T.  (2003).  20 ways to . . . eliminate bullying in your classroom.   Intervention in School and Clinic, 38(4), 172-176.
NARIC Accession Number: J44981
ABSTRACT: Provides tips teachers can use to reduce bullying: (1) lead a class discussion on bullying, (2) write a no-bullying policy, (3) teach social skills routinely, (4) teach students how to avoid being a victim and what to do if victimized, (5) support students who speak out about bullying, (6) include all students in class activities, (7) reinforce responsible, positive behaviors, (8) use a confidential message box for student suggestions or concerns, (9) always use respectful behavior toward students, (10) closely supervise situations that have the potential of becoming aggressive, (11) intervene immediately with appropriate actions, (12) insist that the bully apologize to the victim, (13) arrange class schedule to minimize chaos, (14) provide many ways to gain recognition, (15) have a clear process to report bullying, (16) enlist students in no-bullying activities, (17) encourage administrators and faculty members to write a no-bullying policy into the school handbook, (18) plan an in-service meeting for all staff members to address bullying, (19) involve parents in no-bullying efforts, and (20) use the PTA to publicize the no-bullying policy.

Mishna, F.  (2003).  Learning disabilities and bullying: Double jeopardy.   Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(4), 336-347.
NARIC Accession Number: J45754
ABSTRACT: Article presents factors and characteristics that make students with learning disabilities vulnerable to being bullied. The effects of bullying on children and adolescents are discussed, and include risks for social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Evidence is presented that children with learning disabilities are at an increased risk of victimization, though little research exists on the relationship between learning disabilities and bullying. Implications for practice and research for social workers, other mental health professionals, and educators are presented.

Documents from the Education Resource Information Center (ERIC) search at www.eric.ed.gov are listed below:


Ates, S., Rasinski, T., Yildirim, K., & Yildiz, M.  (2012).  Perceptions of Turkish parents with children identified as dyslexic about the problems that they and their children experience.  Reading Psychology, 33(5), 399-422.
ERIC Number: EJ976672
ABSTRACT:  This study identified problems encountered by both dyslexic children and their parents. Seven parents were interviewed. Parents mentioned the negative attitudes of teachers towards them and their children, the use of incorrect practices in the classroom, and educational insufficiency in relation to dyslexia. Similarly, family members were found to display negative attitudes towards dyslexic children manifested in the form of insults, exclusion, psychological pressure, and physical violence. Dyslexic children were also subjected to exclusion and various bullying behaviors by their friends. An additional problem that emerged was the inordinate amount of time taken by schools to make diagnoses of dyslexia.

Benz, M.R., Blake, J.J., Kwok, O.M., Lund, E.M., & Zhou, Q.  (2012).  National prevalence rates of bully victimization among students with disabilities in the United States.  School Psychology Quarterly, 27(4), 210-222.
ERIC Number: EJ990824
ABSTRACT:  This study examined the prevalence rates of bully victimization and risk for repeated victimization among students with disabilities using the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 longitudinal datasets. Results revealed that a prevalence rate ranging from 24.5 percent in elementary school to 34.1 percent in middle school. This is one to one and a half times the national average for students without disabilities. The rate of bully victimization was highest for students with emotional disturbance across school levels. Findings from this study also indicated that students with disabilities who were bullied once were at high risk of being bullied repeatedly. Elementary and middle school students with autism and high school students with orthopedic impairments were at the greatest risk of experiencing repeated victimization. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Brooks, D.S., Farmer, T.W., Gravelle, M., Hamm, J.V., Lambert, K., & Petrin, R.  (2012).  Bullying involvement and the school adjustment of rural students with and without disabilities.  Journal of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders, 20(1), 19-37.
ERIC Number: EJ958212
ABSTRACT:  Bullying involvement status (i.e., bully, victim, bully-victim) and school adjustment were examined in a sample of 1,389 fifth graders (745 female, 644 male) including 145 special education students who were served in general education classrooms for at least 50 percent of the day. The sample was drawn from 35 rural schools in seven states across all geographic areas of the United States. School adjustment difficulties including internalizing and externalizing behavior problems were most pronounced in students who were identified as bully-victims (students who were identified as both victims and perpetrators of bullying). In contrast, bullies tended to have more positive interpersonal characteristics and fewer negative ones than youth who were identified as victims or bully-victims. Furthermore, compared to their nondisabled peers, students who received special education services had elevated rates of involvement as victims and bully-victims, but not as bullies. Implications for intervention are discussed.

Chen, L.M., Cheng, Y.Y., & Liu, K.S.  (2012).  Validation of the perceived school bullying severity scale.  Educational Psychology, 32(2), 169-182.
ERIC Number: EJ959631
ABSTRACT:  Research on school bullying has tended to focus on its prevalence or frequency while ignoring its perceived severity. This study attempted to construct a perceived School Bullying Severity Scale (SBSS). The original 24-item instrument, revised from the Victim Scale of the School Bullying Scales, covered the four categories of physical, verbal, relational and cyber bullying. The partial credit model was used to conduct Rasch analysis with ConQuest software on data derived from two samples of Taiwanese secondary school students. Sample 1 and sample 2 consisted of 605 and 869 students, respectively. Three items were deleted after examining the quality of the data from sample 1. The reliability and validity of the 21 items on the final scale were verified using data from sample 2. Results demonstrated the reliability and validity of information collected by the SBSS. This study also found that secondary school students rated relational and cyber bullying as more severe than physical and verbal bullying. Differences between teachers' and students' perspectives on the perceived severity of various bullying behaviors as well as implications for preventing and intervening in bullying are discussed.

Chen, P.Y., & Schwartz, I.S.  (2012).  Bullying and victimization experiences of students with autism spectrum disorders in elementary schools.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27(4), 200-212.
ERIC Number: EJ984720
ABSTRACT:  We explored bullying and victimization experienced by third- to fifth-grade students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), by surveying students with ASD, their parents, and their teachers. A total of 25 triads, each including one student with ASD, one of the student's parents, and one teacher, were involved in data analysis. We found that all three respondent groups reported high prevalence of bullying and victimization experienced by students with ASD. While students with ASD, their parents, and their teachers reported similar victimization scores, teachers reported significantly higher bullying scores than those found in student- and parent-reports. The three respondent groups showed some differences in bullying status of students with ASD. We discuss implications for including students with ASD in bullying prevention and school wide models of intervention to improve the quality of life of students with ASD.

Eckes, S., & Gibbs, J.  (2012).  The legal aspects of bullying and harassment of students with disabilities:  School leaders' legal obligations.  Journal of School Leadership, 22(6), 1065-1086.
ERIC Number: EJ989534
ABSTRACT:  Research demonstrates that students with disabilities are harassed more than their nondisabled peers. Students with disabilities who have been severely harassed have argued that they are not receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) as required by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A school district's failure to respond to known acts of harassment could result in district liability. In addition to IDEA, Title II of the American's with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) also prohibit school districts from discriminating against students with disabilities. Employing traditional legal research methods, this paper examines the legal issues surrounding the bullying and harassment of students with disabilities. Legal cases involving disability-based harassment under the IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504 will be coded to determine implications for schools leaders. It is hoped that school leaders will gain a better perspective on disability law and their school's antibullying/harassment policy in order to minimize litigation and more importantly to provide a socially just public schooling environment for all students.

Gelser, S., Ne'eman, A., & Young, J.  (2012).  Bullying and students with disabilities:  A briefing paper from the National Council on Disability.
ERIC Number: ED528255
Full-text is available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED528255.pdf
ABSTRACT:  Like bullying in general, bullying of students with disabilities represents both a civil rights and public health challenge. Amongst the possible effects of bullying the U.S. Department of Education (DOE, 2010) includes lowered academic achievement and aspirations, increased anxiety, loss of self-esteem and confidence, depression and post-traumatic stress, deterioration in physical health, self-harm and suicidal thinking, suicide, feelings of alienation, absenteeism and other negative impacts, both educational and health related. While both students with and without disabilities face significant negative emotional, educational and physical results from bullying, students with disabilities are both uniquely vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by the bullying phenomena. Despite this, there exists a dearth of both research and policy focusing on eliminating the bullying of students with disabilities. Furthermore, evidence suggests that existing legal and policy tools available to address bullying against students with disabilities remain significantly under-utilized. Additional focus is needed on the bullying of students with disabilities, both as part of a general strategy of bullying prevention efforts and as a specific area of focus in policy and practice. Effectively addressing bullying of students with disabilities will require undertaking action as part of both general and special education policy. This paper recommends several policy actions for addressing bullying of students with disabilities.

Katsiyannis, A., & Maag, J.W.  (2012).  Bullying and students with disabilities: Legal and practice considerations.  Behavioral Disorders, 37(2), 78-86.
ERIC Number: EJ970108
ABSTRACT:  Bullying in schools has received both media and scholarly attention for the past 20 years. A large body of research has identified variables associated with bullies, victims, and bully-victims in terms of predictive and preventative factors. However, less attention has been given to the role federal legislation and litigation has played in schools being held more accountable for bullying that may involve discriminatory practices based on disability. Students who have some obvious physical or cognitive disability are at greater risk for being bullied. When they retaliate, they are often considered bully-victims when, in reality, they are only trying to protect themselves in a manner consistent with their oftentimes limited skills. Students with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD) are at particular risk for displaying bully-victim characteristics. The first purpose of this article is to describe legislative mandates and relevant litigation on bullying and harassment so that schools are better positioned to react appropriately and swiftly when bullying involving students with disabilities occurs. The second purpose is to describe evidence-based practices schools can implement for preventing bullying and responding to it appropriately.

Monda-Amaya, L.E., & Rose, C.A.  (2012).  Bullying and victimization among students with disabilities:  Effective strategies for classroom teachers.  Intervention in School and Clinic, 48(2), 99-107
ERIC Number: EJ991390
ABSTRACT:  Bullying has come to be recognized as a pervasive problem in schools today. Frequently bullying is not immediately recognized or viewed by classroom teachers as problematic behavior. As more students experience bullying, questions arise as to how well teachers understand the bullying dynamic and are aware of strategies for intervening when those behaviors occur. This article is designed to give teachers, administrators, and researchers a fundamental understanding of bullying behavior and strategies for intervening in schools and classrooms.


Ervin, D.  (2011).  Bullying children with disabilities: A global epic. 
ERIC Number: ED518488
Full-text is available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED518488.pdf
ABSTRACT:  Bullying is an issue in all schools, colleges and work places throughout the world. It is in the national news constantly. The media typically reports on bullying and harassment when it involves non-disabled children, mostly high school and college aged students. Very little attention is given to bullying and harassment of children with disabilities. Children with disabilities are being bullied at an alarming increasing rate. Bullying involving children with disabilities is much more complex as these children do not have the ability or coping skills to deal with the stress and anxiety that results from being bullied. Proactive strategies are needed in order to meet the needs of victims of bullies.

Espelage, D. L., Monda-Amaya, L.E., & Rose, C.A.  (2011).  Bullying perpetration and victimization in special education:  A review of the literature.  Remedial & Special Education, 32(2), 114-130.
ERIC Number: EJ918495
ABSTRACT:  Bullying perpetration and victimization have become pervasive problems in American schools. Recent research suggests a causal association between prolonged periods of victimization and overt acts of school violence. These findings are germane to students with disabilities in light of evidence suggesting these students are victimized more often than typically developing peers. The purpose of this review is to provide special educators with an overview of definitions and issues related to bullying perpetration and victimization and to synthesize research on this topic as it pertains to students with disabilities by disability type, personal characteristics, and educational placement. It was concluded that additional research is needed on the prevalence and types of bullying, the factors related to perpetration or victimization, and the appropriate school-based interventions for special needs populations.

Gietz, C., Good, C.P., & McIntosh, K.  (2011).  Integrating bullying prevention into school wide positive behavior support.  TEACHING Exceptional Children, 44(1), 48-56.
ERIC Number: EJ940127
ABSTRACT:  Bullying is often defined as unprovoked aggressive behavior repeatedly carried out against victims who are unable to defend themselves. Children and youth who engage in bullying behavior may have a physical advantage, higher social status, or power in numbers, whereas those who are targeted by bullies are likely to be solitary, smaller in stature, or members of marginalized groups. Researchers have suggested that children with learning, emotional, and physical disabilities are more likely to be bullied by their peers (Cummings, Pepler, Mishna, & Craig, 2006) and are more likely to experience severe and serious forms of victimization (Heinrichs, 2003). This article describes: (1) common steps taken in schools to respond to bullying behavior, (2) why these steps may be less effective, (3) a promising approach of integrating bullying prevention into existing school wide behavior support systems, and (4) a case study describing and showing outcomes of this integrated approach.

Holmquist, J.  (2011).  Use positive strategies to protect your child with a disability from bullying.  Exceptional Parent, 41(12), 32-34.
ERIC Number: EJ959411
ABSTRACT:  While any child can be a target of bullying, children with disabilities can be especially vulnerable. Research concerning children with disabilities and bullying indicates an increased risk for children with special needs. This article discusses how parents can help protect their children with disabilities from bullying and its devastating effects by promoting effective strategies such as PACER's Peer Advocacy Program, using the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as a tool, working with the school, and knowing their child's rights under the law.

Modell, S., & Raskauskas, J.  (2011).  Modifying anti-bullying programs to include students with disabilities.  TEACHING Exceptional Children, 44(1), 60-67.
ERIC Number: EJ940129
ABSTRACT:  "Bullying" is defined as any aggressive behavior with the intent to harm that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying is identified as one of the most predominant problems faced by children in the United States education system, as well as one of the most significant health risks to children. Exactly how prevalent this issue is among students with disabilities is unclear because research focusing on this cohort is limited. However, most experts agree that children with disabilities are harassed by peers at higher rates than their peers without disabilities. Students with disabilities have the right to learn in a safe environment. Existing anti-bullying programs have largely ignored students with disabilities as being key stakeholders in the whole-school approach. However, existing programs can easily be modified to include students with disabilities in needs assessment, program components, and delivery of the program content. This information can be helpful to schools that are looking for ways to reduce bullying among students with disabilities.

O'Neill, K.M., & Vessey, J.A.  (2011).  Helping students with disabilities better address teasing and bullying situations:  A MASNRN study.  Journal of School Nursing, 27(2), 139-148.
ERIC Number: EJ921073
ABSTRACT:  Students with disabilities are more likely to be chronically teased or bullied and develop related psychosocial problems. Proactive interventions help these youths develop coping skills and become more resilient in handling such situations. The specific aims of this study were to (1) identify children with disabilities, who are at risk for being chronically teased or bullied and (2) intervene using a web-based program to build resiliency for managing teasing and bullying situations. Using materials from the U.S. Health Services Resources Administration's "Stop Bullying Now" campaign, 11 school nurses conducted a 12-session, biweekly support/discussion group intervention for 65 students with disabilities. Results indicated that after participating in serial brief interventions using a school nurse-led support group model, students reported being significantly less bothered by teasing and possessed significantly improved self-concepts, thus becoming more resilient in managing teasing and bullying situations. This study was conducted by MASNRN: the Massachusetts School Nurse Research Network.

Son, E.  (2011).  Peer victimization of children with disabilities:  Examining prevalence and early risk and protective factors among a national sample of children receiving special education services.  Ph.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick.
ERIC Number: ED533811
ABSTRACT:  Peer victimization is a serious social problem that can negatively affect a child's psychosocial development and school adjustment, and may have lasting effects for victims. Previous studies on peer victimization have suggested that children with disabilities (CWD) are likely to be more frequent targets of peer victimization. This longitudinal study analyzed three waves of data from the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study data (N=1,268). Using the child-by-environment model as a conceptual framework, the study examined the prevalence, nature, and pathways between child characteristics, family factors, school factors at Wave 1, peer-relation difficulties at Wave 2, and peer victimization at Wave 3. To account for the complex sampling used in the dataset, statistical analyses were conducted using Stata 10 and included descriptive analyses, cross-tabulations, Pearson correlations, and a path analysis with AMOS 17.0. The findings showed that one quarter to one third of pre-elementary CWD experienced some form of peer victimization in school. Peer victimization increased over the 3-year study period, and there were also substantial rates of multiple victimization among CWD. The path model showed an acceptable fit to the data. Two pathways explained the influence of risk and protective factors for peer victimization among young CWD. First, children's environmental factors, such as low family income and spending more time in a special-education classroom setting, were associated with children's poor social behaviors, which in turn affected peer-relation difficulties, and increased peer victimization. Second, CWD from low-income families and special-education classroom settings were more likely to have poor language development and social skills, which affected children's peer-relation difficulties and increased peer victimization. These results suggest the need to provide bullying prevention and intervention strategies for CWD, which have been previously neglected in the context of school-based bullying prevention and intervention programs. Practical implications include developing programs tailored for CWD from low-income families and special-education classroom settings, providing mental health services for pre-elementary CWD, linking parents to available school and community resources to improve children's language and social skills, and promoting polices to enhance social conditions for CWD.


Biggs, M.J.G., Gaus, M.D., & Simpson, C.  (2010).  Using a team approach to address bullying of students with Asperger's syndrome in activity-based settings.  Children & Schools, 32(3), 135-142.
ERIC Number: EJ892991
ABSTRACT:  The rate of bullying among individuals with disabilities is alarming. Because of the social and motor deficiencies that individuals with Asperger's syndrome (AS) often display, they are frequently targets of bullying. The physical education setting often consists of a larger number of students than the typical academic instructional setting. This increase in the number of children may foster a breeding ground for bullying of students with limited physical abilities or poor social skills. Understanding AS and bullying will enable social workers and educators to engage in team problem solving to teach children with AS the skills needed to address bullying issues if they encounter them. This approach is particularly beneficial to those students with AS being educated in the general physical education setting. The team approach is most effective when a social worker takes an active role in the process.

Bourke, S., & Burgman, I.  (2010).  Coping with bullying in Australian schools:  How children with disabilities experience support from friends, parents, and teachers.  Disability & Society, 25(3), 359-371.
ERIC Number: EJ885237
ABSTRACT:  Little research has been published investigating the experiences of physical and emotional support for children with disabilities in the Australian school context. The aim of this phenomenological study was to explore how children with disabilities experienced support when they were bullied at school. Qualitative interviews with 10 children, aged 8-10 years, were analyzed. The children had a range of disabilities, including physical, visual and hearing impairments. The four themes that emerged were: (1) bullying experiences; (2) coping with bullying; (3) importance of friends; (4) adult responses to bullying. The implications of the contributions to this study for bullying research specific to the lives of children with disabilities are discussed, such as providing educational and health professionals with a knowledge of the support that children with disabilities draw on when they experience bullying.

Conrad, C.F., Holzbauer, J.J.  (2010).  A typology of disability harassment in secondary schools.  Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 33(3), 143-154.
ERIC Number: EJ910609
ABSTRACT:  The purpose of this exploratory study of disability harassment was to develop a typology of disability harassment experiences anchored in the perspectives of students with disabilities who have experienced harassment in urban, suburban, and exurban-rural schools. Based on focus group interviews with four groups of young people with various disabilities and two groups of parents of students with disabilities, the authors identified six major types of disability harassment and placed them on a continuum from least assertive to most aggressive. For each of the six types, signature behaviors were identified as was their respective frequency. Based on their findings, the authors propose several practical strategies for secondary schools (Grades 6-12) aimed at helping to address the multiple faces of this formidable challenge.

da Costa, J., & Gil, M.  (2010).  Students with disabilities in mainstream schools:  District level perspectives on anti-bullying policy and practice within schools in Alberta.  International Journal of Special Education, 25(2), 148-161.
ERIC Number: EJ890594
Full-text is available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ890594.pdf
ABSTRACT:  Many researchers around the world point out that bullying in schools is aimed towards others, in many cases against students with disabilities. Bullying is a serious issue, which involves many students and is, by far, the biggest violence problem in schools in many countries. The researchers investigated how provincial legislation and jurisdictional policy in Alberta (Canada) related to anti-bullying policies within schools. The fundamental goal of this research was to develop an understanding of the relationships between anti-bullying policies and perception of how these policies were implemented in schools from the points of view of central office administration in two school jurisdictions. An analysis of policy documents from two districts in Canada provided no evidence of protections for disabled students specifically. Interviews with central office respondents suggested no need to establish special regulations. Interviewees believed that initiatives implemented in their schools were enough for ensuring that students behaved pro-socially toward all students, including disabled peers. 

Frederickson, N.  (2010).  Bullying or befriending? Children's responses to classmates with special needs.  British Journal of Special Education, 37(1), 4-12.
ERIC Number: EJ880763
ABSTRACT:  Children with special educational needs are generally less accepted, more rejected, and more likely to be victims of bullying than their typically developing classmates. However, they are sometimes treated more favorably than classmates, more like friends than acquaintances. In this article, based on her contribution to the Gulliford Lecture series, Norah Frederickson of University College London argues that attributional processes which appear central to the establishment of peer acceptance and supportive relationships are more likely to be triggered when a child's difficulties are severe or obvious, classmates are older and explanatory information is given to them. Schools are sometimes reluctant to discuss the special needs of a pupil with their classmates due to concerns about labeling. However, the literature on labeling suggests that such concerns have been exaggerated and that labels can sometimes serve a protective function. Norah Frederickson suggests that respectful, helping relationships between typically developing classmates and pupils with special needs are valued by young people, their parents and teachers, and can build to friendships within a context of positive opportunities for interaction.

Mepham, S.  (2010).  Disabled children: The right to feel safe.  Child Care in Practice, 16(1), 19-34.
ERIC Number: EJ880207
ABSTRACT:  This article explores the fundamental right of disabled children to feel safe and be free from bullying, harassment and abuse. The article proposes that, 20 years since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, disabled children are still facing barriers to securing this right. The article focuses on recent Mencap research that shows a very high incidence of bullying of children and young people with a learning disability; and also how measures to prevent and tackle bullying are hindered by a lack of compliance around new legal duties on schools to eliminate the discrimination and harassment of disabled people. The article links the high incidence of bullying with the similarly high incidence of abuse of disabled children, and proposes that these should be considered within the context of a safeguarding continuum. It is argued that the UK government and devolved administrations should respond to the 2008 report of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and ensure the legislation providing protection for persons with disabilities is effectively implemented. Furthermore, increased priority must be given to the inclusion of disabled children in society in order to reduce their marginalization and consequent vulnerability to bullying, harassment, and abuse.

Schoen, A., Schoen, S.  (2010).  Bullying and harassment in the United States.  Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues & Ideas, 83(2), 68-72. 
ERIC Number: EJ872042
ABSTRACT:  This article addresses the issue of bullying and harassment in the United States. The significance of the issue is critical. A historical perspective on the growing attention to and need to confront this social ill is presented. Seminal research related to the topic is interwoven throughout. Practical considerations in addressing the problem are reviewed. Finally, the current state of the bullying epidemic is explored, with implications for the future.

U.S. Department of Education (2010).  Dear colleague letter:  Harassment and bullying (October 26, 2010). Background, summary, and fast facts. 
ERIC Number: ED512472
Full-text is available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED512472.pdf
ABSTRACT:  The Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) does the following: (1) Clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment under the civil rights laws enforced by the Department of Education's (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR); (2) Explains how student misconduct that falls under an anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the anti-discrimination statutes enforced by OCR; (3) Reminds schools that failure to recognize discriminatory harassment when addressing student misconduct may lead to inadequate or inappropriate responses that fail to remedy violations of students' civil rights. Colleges and universities have the same obligations under the anti-discrimination statutes as elementary and secondary schools; and (4) Discusses racial and national origin harassment, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, and disability harassment and illustrates how a school should respond in each case. ED is issuing the DCL to clarify the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment, and to remind schools that by limiting their responses to a specific application of an anti-bullying or other disciplinary policy, they may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discrimination in violation of students' federal civil rights. This paper offers a summary of the points raised in the DCL. [For the full letter, see ED512473.]


Espelage, D.L., Monda-Amaya, L.E., & Rose, C.A.  (2009).  Bullying and victimization rates among students in general and special education:  A comparative analysis.  Educational Psychology, 29(7), 761-776.
ERIC Number: EJ870428
ABSTRACT:  Bullying and victimization remains a pervasive problem within the nation's schools. International research has indicated that students who are enrolled in special education curricula are victimized and perpetrate more bullying than their general education peers. Few empirical studies have examined bullying and victimization rates among American schoolchildren within special education programs. The current study examined rates of bullying and fighting perpetration and victimization among middle-school students (n=7331) and high-school students (n=14,315) enrolled in general education and special education programs. As hypothesized, students in special education reported greater rates of bullying and fighting perpetration, and victimization than general education students. Students who were in self-contained classrooms reported more perpetration and victimization than those in inclusive settings. Fighting perpetration was similar for younger and older students in special education settings; whereas fighting perpetration was lower for older students, versus younger students, in general education.


(2007).  Your 3-step plan to stopping childhood bullying.  Exceptional Parent, 37(2), 64, 66.
ERIC Number: EJ754652
ABSTRACT:  Bullying can happen to any child, especially one who is perceived as "different" or who isn't prepared to respond effectively. Children with disabilities can be especially vulnerable to bullying; in fact, sometimes children are bullied specifically because of their disability. Upon discovering that their child is being bullied, parents often feel bewildered, sad, guilty, angry, or helpless. While it is important to recognize and acknowledge all of these emotions, it will not change the situation. The most effective steps parents can take are to focus on the issue and develop a plan. This article presents a three-step plan to stop childhood bullying. These strategies include: (1) Making sure that the issue is bullying and not routine childhood conflict, (2) helping children learn how to respond more effectively by teaching direct and indirect techniques for dealing with bullies, and (3) working with teachers and administrators to create a safe environment.

Luciano, S., & Savage, R.S.  (2007).  Bullying risk in children with learning difficulties in inclusive educational settings.  Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 22(1), 14-31.
ERIC Number: EJ803191
ABSTRACT:  This study investigated whether students with learning difficulties (LDs) attending inclusive schools that eschewed segregated "pull out" programs reported more incidents of being bullied than their peers without LDs. Cognitive and self-perception factors associated with reports of peer victimization were also explored. Participants were 13 Grade 5 students with LDs and 14 classmates without LDs, matched on gender. Results showed that students with LDs self-reported significantly more incidents of being bullied than students without LDs. After statistical controls for group differences in receptive vocabulary, differences in bullying were no longer significant. Results suggest first that children with LDs in inclusive schools that eschew pull-out programs may still experience significant bullying. Second, the link between LDs, peer rejection, and victimization may reflect the social impact of language difficulties. Implications for reducing peer victimization in inclusive settings are discussed.


Miller, M., & Weiner, M.T.  (2006).  Deaf children and bullying:  Directions for future research.  American Annals of the Deaf, 151(1), 61-70.
ERIC Number: EJ922034
ABSTRACT:  U.S. schools are currently addressing bullying and its effects on children. Bullying is characterized as repetitive verbal teasing, threatening, physical intimidation, demeaning others, violent acts, torture, and other forms of verbal and physical aggression (Smith & Sharp, 1994a). Little is known about bullying and its impact on deaf children. Measures to describe and quantify bullying factors in this population should be developed and validated that address characteristics of deaf victims and bullies, various types of school settings deaf children attend, bullying dynamics that may be unique to this population and its peers, and other environmental factors. The presence of disabilities besides deafness, social support systems of deaf children and their families, sociocultural background, degree of hearing loss, parental educational levels and occupations, socioeconomic status, and linguistic backgrounds should also be considered. This discussion highlights issues and precautions concerning future directions for studying bullying with deaf children.


Carlson, E.J., Flannery, M.C., & Kral, M.S.  (2005).  Differences in bully/victim problems between early adolescents with learning disabilities and their non-disabled peers. 
ERIC Number: ED490374
ABSTRACT:  This study explored the differences of bully/victim problems between early adolescents receiving special education services under the primary category of Learning Disabilities (LD), and their non-disabled peers. Subjects involved were 54 male and female students, grades 6-8, attending a suburban middle school in Minnesota. They were administered the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (Olweus, 1996). Independent samples T-tests indicated a mean difference between regular education students and students with LD educational classification in self-reported levels of being bullied, (p is less than .001). In particular, the children in special education endorsed significantly more incidences of being bullied than their regular education counterparts. Moreover, the data suggested that lack of protective influences, such as liking school and number of friends, was negatively correlated with increased self-reported victimization and bullying behavior. Limitations to this study include, but are not limited to, small sample size, especially students with a special education label. This study also highlights the importance of implementing a bully prevention program in schools and outlines some bully-prevention strategies to be used in a school setting.

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.  (2005).  From teasing to torment:  School climate in America. A survey of students and teachers.
ERIC Number: ED486343
Full-text is available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED486343.pdf
ABSTRACT:  This report is based on online surveys completed by a nationally representative sample of 3450 students aged 13-18 and 1011 secondary school teachers. The survey is intended to explore teens' and secondary school teachers' experiences with and attitudes towards school harassment. Two-thirds of the students surveyed report that they have been verbally or physically harassed or assaulted at school during the past year because of their appearance or their actual or perceived race/ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, or religion. Another noteworthy finding is that teachers believe they have an obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and that this belief is even more common among those teachers who know LGBT students. Topics covered in the survey include frequency of harassment and bullying, exposure to offensive language and personal experiences with harassment at their school.

Singer, E.  (2005).  The strategies adopted by Dutch children with dyslexia to maintain their self-esteem when teased at school.  Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(5), 411-423.
ERIC Number: EJ722270
ABSTRACT:  This article reports on a study of children's narratives about the relationships between dyslexia and being teased at school and explores the dynamics between dyslexia, being bullied, self-esteem, and psychosocial problems. We reconstructed four profiles of inner logic in the children's reactions to being teased or humiliated as a consequence of their dyslexia. Most children with dyslexia protect themselves against teasing and feeling worthless by concealing both their emotions and their academic failures. Others, however, concentrate on their academic progress, and their self-esteem seems to be strengthened by fighting against dyslexia.


Flynt, Samuel, W., & Morton, R.C.  (2004).  Bullying and children with disabilities.  Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(4), 330-333.
ERIC Number: EJ774126
ABSTRACT:  According to a 2001 study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development about 3 in 10 children are affected as bully, victim, or both. However, the knowledge base pertaining to the relationship between bullying and students with disabilities is relatively new and somewhat sparse. This paper defines the terms bully and bullying and discusses the bully/disability dyad. Commercial programs and school interventions designed to decrease bullying in the schools are also addressed. Inference to an interagency collaboration of various stakeholders is suggested as a means of addressing the concerns presented by this pervasive threat to the safety and well-being of all children.

Kelly, N., & Norwich, B.  (2004).  Pupils' views on inclusion:  Moderate learning difficulties and bullying in mainstream and special schools.  British Educational Research Journal, 30(1), 43-65.
ERIC Number: EJ680349
ABSTRACT:  This study examined the views of 101 boys and girls aged 10-11 and 13-14 with statements of special educational needs for moderate learning difficulties. Questions centered on their experiences of school, teaching and learning in mainstream and special schools. The study is set in the context of the international move towards more inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream schools and the greater importance attached to the child's voice in decision-making in education. Most children expressed positive evaluations of their schools and the teaching they received, while a significant minority expressed mixed views. A significant proportion in the mainstream preferred learning support in withdrawal settings. While the majority in both settings preferred their current school, a significant minority in special school preferred to be in a mainstream setting. A notable emergent theme from the study was the high incidence of ''bullying'' that was experienced. Though experienced in both settings, those in special schools experienced far more "bullying" by children from other mainstream schools and from peers and outsiders in their neighborhood. These findings are discussed in terms of the tensions or dilemmas about differences that were experienced and their implications for the move towards greater inclusion.


Hoover, J., & Stenhjem, P.  (2003).  Bullying and teasing of youth with disabilities:  Creating positive school environments for effective inclusion. Issue Brief, 2(3).
ERIC Number: ED534531
ABSTRACT:  National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET), University of Minnesota Bullying has been proven by numerous studies to be a serious problem nationwide. Harassment of youth with disabilities in particular has been steadily increasing. Whole-school anti-bullying/anti-violence programs are necessary to address this problem effectively. This brief provides definitions of bullying, teasing, and disability harassment. This brief also discusses several ways to address this problem such as: creating caring communities, comprehensive whole-school anti-bullying programs, and employing Dan Olweus' (author of "Bullying at School" and a leading authority on bullying and victimization) intervention program.

Document from the Campbell Collaboration search at www.campbellcollaboration.org is listed below:


Farrington, D., & Ttofi, M.  (2009).  School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization: A systematic review.  Campbell Systematic Reviews, 6. 
Full-text is available at http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/lib/project/77
ABSTRACT:  Objectives: This report presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of programs designed to reduce school bullying perpetration and victimization (i.e. being bullied). The authors indicate the pitfalls of previous reviews and explain in detail how the present systematic review and meta-analysis addresses the gaps in the existing literature on bullying prevention.  Search Strategy: In the present report, we go beyond previous reviews by: doing much more extensive searches for evaluations such as hand-searching all volumes of 35 journals from 1983 up to the end of May 2009; searching for international evaluations in 18 electronic databases and in languages other than English; and focusing only on programs that are specifically designed to reduce bullying and not aggressive behavior (i.e. the outcome variables specifically measure bullying). Leading researchers in the area of school bullying were also contacted via -mail.  Selection Criteria: Studies were included in this review if they evaluated the effects of an anti-bullying program by comparing an experimental group who received the intervention with a control group who did not. The word ‘experimental’ here refers to students who received the program and does not necessarily imply randomization. Four types of research design were included: a) randomized experiments; b) experimental-control comparisons with before and after measures of bullying; c) other experimental control comparisons; and d) quasi-experimental age-cohort designs, where students of age after the intervention were compared with students of the same age in the same school before the intervention. Both published and unpublished (e.g., PhD theses) reports were included. Reports concerning an evaluation of a program had to clearly indicate that bullying or victimization was included as outcome measures. Bullying and victimization could be measured using self-report questionnaires, peer ratings, teacher ratings, or observational data.  Results: We found a total of 622 reports that were concerned with bullying prevention. The number of reports on anti-bullying programs and on the necessity of tackling bullying has increased considerably over time. Only 89 of these reports (describing 53 different program evaluations) could be included in our review. Of the 53 different program evaluations, only 44 provided data that permitted the calculation of an effect size for bullying or victimization. Our meta-analysis of these 44 evaluations showed that, overall, school-based anti-bullying programs are effective in reducing bullying and victimization (being bullied). On average, bullying decreased by 20-23 percent and victimization decreased by 17-20 percent. The effects were generally highest in the age-cohort designs and lowest in the randomized experiments. It was not clear, however, that the randomized experiments were methodologically superior in all cases, because sometimes a very small number of schools (between three and seven) were randomly assigned to conditions, and because of other methodological problems such as differential attrition. Various program elements and intervention components were associated with a decrease in both bullying and victimization. Work with peers was associated with an increase in victimization. We received feedback from researchers about our coding of 40 out of 44 programs. Analyses of publication bias show that the observed effect sizes (for both bullying and victimization) were based on an unbiased set of studies.  Authors' Conclusions: Results obtained so far in evaluations of anti-bullying programs are encouraging. The time is ripe to mount a new long-term research strategy on the effectiveness of these programs, based on our findings. The main policy implication of our review is seven School-Based Programs to Reduce Bullying and Victimization that new anti-bullying programs should be designed and tested based on the key program elements and evaluation components that we have found to be most effective. We recommend that a system of accrediting anti-bullying programs should be developed, supervised by an international body such as the International Observatory on Violence in Schools.

Document from the NCRTM search at ncrtm.org is listed below:


Abery, B., Gaylord, V., Heyne, L., Montle, J., & Palmer, S.  (2011).  Impact: Feature issue on supporting the social well-being of children and youth with disabilities.  Impact, 24(1), Spring/Summer.
Full-text is available at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/241/241.pdf
ABSTRACT:  In this Issue: Where Does Social-Emotional Well-Being Fit into the School Curriculum? - Five Ways Adults Can Support Social Success for Students with Social Learning Challenges - Supporting Friendship Development for Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities - The Importance of Student Support Staff to Social-Emotional Well-Being of Students with Disabilities - Bullying Among Children and Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs - Therapeutic Recreation in Schools: Supporting Children's Social and Emotional Well-Being - Preparing for Adult Life: Important Social Skills for High School Students -Structuring Recreation and Youth Programs to Facilitate Social Inclusion - and more.

Documents from the National Library of Medicine PubMed search at www.pubmed.com are listed below:


Anderson, C., Bradshaw, C.P., Law, P.A., & Zablotsky, B.  (2013).  The association between bullying and the psychological functioning of children with autism spectrum disorders.  Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 34(1), 1-8.
PMID: 23275052
ABSTRACT:  OBJECTIVE: Bullying has become a major national concern, particularly as it affects children with disabilities. The current study aimed to determine the association between psychiatric comorbid conditions, involvement in bullying (victim, bully, or bully-victim), and the immediate psychological correlates of bullying among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).  METHODS: A national sample of 1221 parents completed a survey dedicated to the bullying and school experiences of their child with ASD, reporting on the immediate consequences of bullying involvement, including their child's psychological well-being and any psychiatric comorbidity. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to determine whether specific psychiatric comorbidities were associated with an increased risk of involvement as victim, bully, or bully-victim. Analyses of variance determined the relationship between bullying frequency and psychological functioning. All models adjusted for child and school covariates.  RESULTS: Children who were frequently victimized were more likely to present with internalizing symptoms, whereas children who frequently bullied others were more likely to exhibit emotion regulation problems. Children who were identified as frequent bully-victims presented with both internalizing symptoms and emotion regulation problems. Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression were more likely to have been victimized, whereas children with conduct disorder (CD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) were more likely to have bullied other children. Children identified as bully-victims were more likely to have ADHD, CD, or ODD.  CONCLUSIONS: Children with ASDs who had displayed bullying behaviors in the past month exhibited psychological impairments, including psychiatric comorbidity. The frequency of bullying behaviors was significantly associated with the level of impairment.

Anderson, C.M., Bradshaw, C.P., Law, P., & Zablotsky, B.  (2013).  Risk factors for bullying among children with autism spectrum disorders.  Autism: The International Journal of Research & Practice, July 30, 2013 [Epub ahead of print]. 
PMID: 23901152
ABSTRACT:  Although children with disabilities have been found to be at an increased risk of bullying, there are limited studies investigating predictors of bullying involvement in children with autism spectrum disorders. The current study presents findings from 1221 parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who were selected from a national web-based registry. Parents completed a survey dedicated to the school and bullying experiences of their child, and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify child and school risk factors for involvement as victim, bully, or bully-victim. Additional analyses examined the risk of bullying involvement based on the amount of time spent in general education classrooms. Children diagnosed with Asperger's disorder, attending a public school or a school with a general education population, were at the greatest risk of being victimized in the past month.  Children with comorbid conditions and a high level of autistic traits were the most likely to be victims, bullies, and bully-victims. Finally, children in full inclusion classrooms were more likely to be victimized than those who spend the majority of their time in special education settings. Future research studies should be invested in finding appropriate supports for children with autism spectrum disorder placed in inclusive settings.

Aragon, S.R., Espelage, D.L., Monda-Amaya, L.E., Rose, C.A., & Shogren, K.A.  (2013).  Bullying and middle school students with and without specific learning disabilities:  An examination of social-ecological predictors.  Journal of Learning Disabilities, July 25, 2013, [Epub ahead of print]. 
PMID: 23886583
ABSTRACT:  The current study investigated demographic variables, sense of belonging, and social supports as predictors for involvement in bullying for students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) and students without disabilities. Although these student groups are characteristically different, results suggested involvement in bullying was invariant. However, gender, race, grade point average, and participation in extracurricular activities emerged as significant predictors for involvement in the bullying dynamic. In addition, increased peer social support was found to be the most significant predictor of decreased bullying, victimization, fighting, and anger for both students with SLD and students without disabilities. Educational implications include the suggestion that schools adopt multi-tiered anti-bullying programs that foster increased social supports and peer acceptance and incorporate targeted interventions for at-risk subpopulations of students.

Arnaud, C., Due, P., Gabhainn, S.N., Gavin, A., Gobina, I., Godeau, E., Malkowska-Szkutnik, A., Matos, M.G., Molcho, M., Ravens-Sieberer, U., Sentenac, M., & Vollebergh, W.  (2013).  Peer victimization and subjective health among students reporting disability or chronic illness in 11 Western countries.  European Journal of Public Health, 23(3), 421-6.
PMID: 22930742
ABSTRACT:  BACKGROUND: To compare the strength of the association between peer victimization at school and subjective health according to the disability or chronic illness (D/CI) status of students across countries.  METHODS: This study used data from 55 030 students aged 11, 13 and 15 years from 11 countries participating in the 2005-06 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey. Self-completed questionnaires were administered in classrooms.  Multivariate models of logistic regression (controlled for confounding factors and countries) were used to investigate differences in the association between peer victimization and poor subjective health according to the D/CI status.  RESULTS: Overall, 13.5 percent of the students reported having been bullied at least two or three times a month. The percentage of victims was significantly higher among those reporting D/CI than among others in all countries studied. Victims of bullying were more likely to report poor self-rated health, low life satisfaction and multiple health complaints. However, there were no differences in the associations between peer victimization and subjective health indicators according to the D/CI status.  CONCLUSIONS: In all countries studied, students reporting D/CI were more likely to report being victims of bullying. Victims of bullying reported more negative subjective health outcomes regardless of their D/CI status. Although inclusive education is currently a major topic of educational policies in most countries, additional efforts should be made to improve the quality of the integration of students with D/CI.


Arnaud, C., Gabhainn, S.N., Gavin, A., Godeau, E., Molcho, M., & Sentenac, M.  (2012).  Peer victimization among school-aged children with chronic conditions.  Epidemiologic Reviews, 34(1), 120-8.
PMID: 22130095
ABSTRACT:  Peer victimization is a common problem among school-aged children, and those with chronic conditions are at an increased risk. A systematic review of the literature was carried out to explore the increased risk of peer victimization among children with chronic conditions compared with others, considering a variety of chronic conditions; and to assess intervention programs designed to reduce negative attitudes or peer victimization at school toward children with chronic conditions. Various data sources were used (PubMed, ERIC, PsycINFO, Web of Science), and 59 studies published between 1991 and 2011 and mainly carried out in North American and European countries were included in the review. A higher level of peer victimization among children with chronic conditions was shown for each type of condition explored in this review (psychiatric diagnoses, learning difficulties, physical and motor impairments, chronic illnesses, and overweight). Despite a substantial number of studies having shown a significant association between chronic conditions and peer victimization, intervention studies aiming to reduce bullying among these children were rarely evaluated. The findings of this review suggest a growing need to develop and implement specific interventions targeted at reducing peer victimization among children with chronic conditions.

Cooper, B.P., Narendorf, S.C., Shattuck, P.T., Sterzing, P.R., & Wagner, M.  (2012).  Bullying involvement and autism spectrum disorders:  Prevalence and correlates of bullying involvement among adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder.  Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 166(11), 1058-64.
PMID: 22945284
ABSTRACT:  OBJECTIVES: To produce nationally representative estimates for rates of bullying involvement among adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to compare population estimates with adolescents who have other developmental disabilities, and to identify social ecological correlates of bullying involvement.  DESIGN: Nationally representative surveys from 2001.  SETTING: United States.  PARTICIPANTS: Parents of adolescents with an ASD, principals of the schools they attended, and staff members most familiar with their school programs.  MAIN EXPOSURE: Autism spectrum disorders.  MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Parent report of victimization, perpetration, and victimization/perpetration within the past school year.  RESULTS: The prevalence rates of bullying involvement for adolescents with an ASD were 46.3 percent for victimization, 14.8 percent for perpetration, and 8.9 percent for victimization/perpetration. Victimization was related to having a non-Hispanic ethnicity, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, lower social skills, some form of conversational ability, and more classes in general education. Correlates of perpetration included being white, having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and getting together with friends at least once a week.  Victimization/perpetration was associated with being white non-Hispanic, having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and getting together with friends at least once a week.  CONCLUSIONS: School-based bullying interventions need to target the core deficits of ASD (conversational ability and social skills) and comorbid conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). Future bullying interventions also need to address the higher rates of victimization that occur in general education settings by increasing social integration into protective peer groups and increasing the empathy and social skills of typically developing students toward their peers with an ASD.

Frerichs, L.J., Maag, J.W., Siebecker, A.B., Swearer, S.M., & Wang, C.  (2012).  Understanding the bullying dynamic among students in special and general education.  Journal of School Psychology, 50(4), 503-20.
PMID: 22710018
ABSTRACT:  Students in general and special education experience bullying. However, few empirical investigations have examined involvement in bullying along the bully/victim continuum (i.e., as a bully, victim, or bully-victim) among students with disabilities. A total of 816 students, ages 9 to 16, participated in the present study. From this total sample 686 were not receiving special education services (categorized as "no disability"), and 130 were receiving special education services (categorized as "observable disability," "non-observable disability," and "behavioral disability"). Data on students' involvement in bullying, office referrals, and prosocial behavior were collected. Results indicated that students with behavioral disorders and those with observable disabilities reported bullying others more and being victimized more than their general education counterparts. Students with behavioral disorders also had significantly more office referrals than students in general education. Seventh graders in general education reported more bullying behavior than sixth graders and ninth grades in general education. Fifth graders in general education reported more victimization than students in all other grades in general education. However, the grade differences were not significant for students in special education. No gender differences on bullying and victimization were found. Students with disabilities reported less engagement in prosocial behaviors than their general education peers. Implications for bullying prevention and intervention across both general and special education are discussed.


Macias, M.M., Saia, D., Saylor, C.F., Spratt, E., Taylor, L.A., & Twyman, K.A.  (2010).  Bullying and ostracism experiences in children with special health care needs.  Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 31(1), 1-8.
PMID: 20081430
ABSTRACT:  OBJECTIVE: Bullying experiences are becoming increasingly common in children and can have devastating consequences. Ostracism threatens a child's need for self-esteem, sense of belonging, sense of control, and meaningful existence.  Recent literature suggests that children with special health care needs may be at risk for these negative events and consequences. This study compares bullying and ostracism experiences in children with and without various special health care needs.  METHODS: Participants aged 8 to 17 years completed questionnaires during a routine primary care or subspecialty clinic visit. Children with learning disabilities (N=34), attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder (N=100), autism spectrum disorders (N=32), behavioral or mental health disorders (N=33), and cystic fibrosis (CF, N=22) were compared with 73 control children with no diagnosis on Reynolds' Bully-Victimization Scale scores and a 15-item pilot ostracism scale.  RESULTS: Compared with the control group, children in the learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder groups exhibited significant victimization scores on the Bully-Victimization Scale, whereas the behavioral or mental health disorders group had increased mean victimization scores. The learning disabilities group also reported clinically significant bullying. The CF group did not report involvement as bullies or victims. All children with special health care needs groups had increased mean frequency of threats to basic needs related to ostracism, and children with attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders were at higher risk for ostracism experiences.  CONCLUSION: Children with special health care needs may be at higher risk for bullying, victimization, and ostracism. Further research is needed to explore this relationship, especially as it relates to child adjustment. Children with special health care needs should be asked about bullying and ostracism experiences and potential effects as part of mental health screening.


de Moor, J.M., Didden, R., Korzilius, H., Lancioni, G.E., Lang, R., O'Reilly,  M., Scholte, R.H., & Vermeulen,  A.  (2009).  Cyberbullying among students with intellectual and developmental disability in special education settings.  Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 12(3), 146-51.
PMID: 19466622
ABSTRACT:  OBJECTIVE: To explore the types, prevalence and associated variables of cyberbullying among students with intellectual and developmental disability attending special education settings.  METHODS: Students (n=114) with intellectual and developmental disability who were between 12-19 years of age completed a questionnaire containing questions related to bullying and victimization via the internet and cellphones. Other questions concerned socio-demographic characteristics (IQ, age, gender, diagnosis), self-esteem and depressive feelings.  RESULTS: Between 4-9 percent of students reported bullying or victimization of bullying at least once a week. Significant associations were found between cyberbullying and IQ, frequency of computer usage and self-esteem and depressive feelings. No associations were found between cyberbullying and age and gender.  CONCLUSIONS: Cyberbullying is prevalent among students with intellectual and developmental disability in special education settings. Programs should be developed to deal with this issue in which students, teachers and parents work together.

Quick Looks

Online Resources Related to Bullying and Children/Youth with Disabilities


The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) is the leading organizations for parents of children with disabilities.  PACER was established in 1977 as a way for parents with children with disabilities to educate other parents and improve the lives of children with disabilities in Minnesota evolving to a nationwide organization.  Since its inception, PACER has established countless projects and contributed to the disability community by providing technical assistance through the Technical Assistance for Parents Project (TAPP) Regional Office; collaborations with European countries on assistive technology projects; assisting with writing national legislation for parent training and information center; and the establishment of National Bullying Awareness Week that evolved into National Bullying Prevention Month.  The PACER established the National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006.  The Center engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant, and interactive resources that are designed for all students—including students with disabilities.  Resources on the Center’s website include:  information on National Bullying Prevention Week/Month activities and events; videos and stories; a section providing an overview, bullying information and facts, informational handouts, educator toolkits and educational activities, and resources specific to students with disabilities.  Additionally, the Center’s website includes downloadable handouts and information including templates on notifying the school about bullying and action plans as well a complete listing of state laws through StopBullying.gov

NIDRR-Related Resources

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
Phone:  301-217-0124 (V/TTY), Toll Free:  800-949-4232 (V/TTY – DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV)
Contact:  www.adainfo.org/content/contact-form
Youth with Disabilities: Bullying – www.adainfo.org/content/youth-bullying

Self-Advocacy Online (SAO)
Self-Advocacy Online is a place to find accessible information on current topics in self-advocacy. Supported by the Research and Training Center on Community Living at The University of Minnesota the RTC and SAO operate primary with funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), and other federal agencies. The RTC is part of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. Initial support for SAO was provided by the NEC Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.
Email:  rtcweb@umn.edu
Stories on bullying, and other topics:  www.selfadvocacyonline.org/stories

Sibling Leadership Network (SLN)
The RRTC on Aging with Developmental Disabilities co-founded the Sibling Leadership
Network (SLN) in 2006 with the Kennedy Center at Vanderbilt University, and a SLN steering group. The SLN provides siblings of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the information, support, and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.
Katie Arnold, Executive Director
Email: katie.arnold@siblingleadership.org
Phone: 312/996-1002
State Chapters:  siblingleadership.org/about/sibling-leadership-network-state-chapters

Additional Online Resources

AbilityPath.org is an online hub and special needs community for parents and professionals to learn, connect and live a more balanced life - through all phases of a child's growth and development. The website combines social networking features with expert content from AbilityPath.org’s team of educators, parents, therapists and medical professionals.
Contact:  www.abilitypath.org/about-us/contact-abilitypath.html
Bullying:  www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/learning--schools/bullying

Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention Information Sheet
Bullying and Youth with Special Needs:  http://gse.buffalo.edu/gsefiles/documents/alberti/Special%20Needs%20Youth%20and%20Bullying%20-%209.25.12.pdf

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD is the nation's largest disability rights organization. AAPD promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. AAPD members, including people with disabilities and their family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change.
Toll Free:  800/840-8844 (V/TTY)
Contact:  www.aapd.com/footer-content/contact-us.html
Bullying & Disability:  www.aapd.com/resources/power-grid-blog/bullying-disability.html

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)
AAIDD promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Contact:  aaidd.org/about-aaidd/contact-us#.Um_P7-IphnE

Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is an advocacy organization dedicated to global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and a possible cure for autism. This organization raises public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society.
Toll Free:  888/288-4762
Email:  familyservices@autismspeaks.org
Combating Bullying:  www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/bullying

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Resources Related to Bullying
Measuring Bullying Victimization, Perpetration, and Bystander Experiences: A Compendium of Assessment Tools – www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullycompendium-a.pdf
Understanding Bullying Fact Sheet:  www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullyingfactsheet2012-a.pdf

Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC)
CRC is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents. The website serves as a clearinghouse of information concerning the ways adolescents’ use and misuse technology. It is intended to be a resource for parents, educators, law enforcement officers, counselors, and others who work with youth.
Contact:  cyberbullying.us/contact

Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP)
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf, DCMP, is a website dedicated to promoting and providing equal access to communication and learning for students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.
Toll Free:  800/237-6213 (V), 800-237-6819 (TTY)
Contact:  www.dcmp.org/contact-us
Bullying: An Increased Risk for Children with a Disability – www.dcmp.org/bullying

Disability.gov is the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability policies, programs, and services in communities nationwide. The site links to thousands of resources from federal, state, and local government agencies; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations.
Tips & Resources for Parents for Bullying Prevention: www.disability.gov/resource/tips-resources-for-parents-for-bullying-prevention/#content

Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)
FCSN provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities.
Phone:  617/236-7210, 800/331-0688 (in MA)
Email:  fcsninfo@fcsn.org
Vulnerable Targets: Students with Disabilities and Bullying – fcsn.org/newsline/v30n3/bullying.php

LD Online
LD Online seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD. The site features hundreds of helpful articles, multimedia, monthly columns by noted experts, first-person essays, children’s writing and artwork, a comprehensive resource guide, very active forums, and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals, schools, and products.
Contact:  www.ldonline.org/sitecontact
Bullying among Children and Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs:  www.ldonline.org/article/20001

Mental Health America (MHA)
Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives.
Bullying:  What to do about it – www.mentalhealthamerica.net/index.cfm?objectId=CA866CC5-1372-4D20-C890BF7CF0FDB428

National Autism Association (NAA)
NAA is a parent-run, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the leading voice on urgent issues related to severe autism, regressive autism, autism safety, autism abuse, and crisis prevention.
Toll Free:  877/622-2884
Email:  naa@nationalautism.org
Bullying:  www.autismsafety.org/bullying.php

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
NCLD improves the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact.
Toll Free:  888/575-7373
Email:  ncld@ncld.org
Bullying and Children with Disabilities:  www.ncld.org/parents-child-disabilities/bullying

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth)
NCWD/Youth is composed of partners with expertise in disability, education, employment, and workforce development issues and is housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC. The Collaborative is charged with assisting state and local workforce development systems to integrate youth with disabilities into their service strategies.
Toll Free:  877/871-0744
Contact:  www.ncwd-youth.info/contact
Bullying and Disability Harassment in the Workplace: What Youth Should Know:  www.ncwd-youth.info/information-brief-29

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
Funding ended September 30, 2013 but the website and all of its free resources will remain available until September 30, 2014.  As a result NICHCY is no longer able to take phone or email requests.
Bullying:  http://nichcy.org/schoolage/behavior/bullying

National Education Association (NEA)
The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
Phone:  202/833-4000
State Affiliates:  www.nea.org/home/49809.htm
NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts With Me – www.nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html

The National Library of Medicine Bullying Website
Provides links and latest news. Parents can sign up to receive bullying updates by email.

Parent Education Network (PEN)
PEN recognizes, supports, and enhances the opportunities for children and youth with disabilities and their families to maximize their potential. PEN promotes mutual respect and collaboration between parents and professionals for the knowledge, skills, and abilities each contributes to the education and development of children and youth with disabilities.
Phone:  717/600-0100 (V/TTY), Toll Free:  800/522-5827 (PA Residents Only)
Email:  pen@parentednet.org
Bullying Information:  www.parentednet.org/bullying-information

StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying and cyberbullying who are at risk, and how to prevent and respond to bullying.  Content for the website is provided by the partners on the StopBullying.gov Editorial Board:  Department of Education (ED), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Resources Specific to Disabilities and Special Needs Children:  www.stopbullying.gov/resources/results?utf8=%E2%9C%93&qry=&sort=&direction=&t_1=1
State Policies and Laws:  www.stopbullying.gov/laws/index.html
Get Help Now!:  www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html

Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA)
TSA dedicated to identifying the cause of, finding the cure for, and controling the effects of Tourette Syndrome.  They offer offer resources and referrals to help people and their families cope with the problems that occur with TS and raise public awareness and counter media stereotypes about TS.
Phone:  718/224-2999
Contact:  www.tsa-usa.org/aabout_tsa/aContactTSA.htm
Bullying:  Prevention and Strategies – www.tsa-usa.org/aBullyingPrev/bullyingprevention_main.html

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About reSearch:

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