How SLPs Can Help the Bullying Epidemic

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Occupational Therapists

It’s no secret that bullying can have lasting effects on a child’s self-confidence and overall well-being. Unfortunately, children with disabilities, especially those with communication, developmental, and social disabilities, are often targeted. Speech-Language Pathologists commonly work with these students, putting them close to the action of many forms of bullying. In this essay, Penn State professor Dr. Gordon Blood explores the various aspects of the bullying epidemic and how Speech-Language Pathologists can help to restore the balance.

“Bullying has gained national attention recently after the suicides of Phoebe Prince, a high school student from Massachusetts, and Tyler Clementi, a college student from Rutgers University. The problem may be even more widespread than people think, says Penn State professor Dr. Gordon Blood, and certain types of bullying are often misunderstood. Bullying can have lasting effects on children’s well-being and self-confidence, and, because bullying often occurs during school hours, it affects children’s learning. Bullying may be a greater problem for children with disabilities, especially those with communication, developmental, and social disabilities.

Blood, the head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State, has been studying bullying for years, and he has a solution in mind. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), he says, can make a difference and restore the balance of power that is disrupted in a bullying scenario.

SLPs are present in virtually every school district across the country (there are more than 140,000 registered with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association), putting them close to the action of many forms of bullying. What’s more, many of the children SLPs commonly work with—those with communication disorders—are typical targets of bullying.”

Find out more about the bullying epidemic, and learn how you can make a difference here.

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