Cerebral palsy and bullying
Children with cerebral palsy, like many other children with certain conditions or disabilities, may experience bullying. This is caused by the fact that they are different and so they stand out – but also because they are perceived as being weaker.
How can you help as a parent?
The most important thing is to be attentive and observant. If you notice any signs of bullying, react. These signs include dirty or torn clothes, missing possessions, a drastic change in behaviour and mood, sadness, isolation, worse grades at school. Talk to your child and be sure to listen, and never disregard what your child tells you.
If you have made sure that your child is indeed bullied, contact the school. The administration should be made aware of the problem. They also have more opportunities to act when they notice acts of bullying.
Can you prevent bullying?
Prevention means, in this case, getting rid of the causes of bullying. Your child stands out because of cerebral palsy – the solution to that is to help him blend in more. Physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills course – all these measures will help your child deal better with her condition and stand out less.
The other cause of bullying is perceived weakness. If you want to help your child become stronger and more self-assured, all the above-mentioned measures should help by raising your child’s independence and his self-esteem. Another thing you can do is to encourage your child or teenager to develop her hobbies.