You Big Bully

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen this picture of Alex Wilson, a young boy from Georgia with Cerebral Palsy who was left out of a multi-school choir performance. His teacher, seen conducting the school choir in this photo taken by Alex’s mother, couldn’t have missed him. According to her report, this isn’t the first time Alex has been marginalized by the choir director either. Alex is just the latest story in a line of heartbreaking stories about children with special needs being left out, ignored, or downright bullied by teachers and students alike.

A report presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting this week reports that symptoms of anxiety and depression are strong in both disabled children and their parents when the disabled child is ostracized or bullied at school. The report studied over 100 children with physical disabilities and autism. The report shows that ostracism and bullying leads to mental illness, but what about kids who are already struggling with mental health conditions? What is the impact on a child whose primary diagnosis IS depression? Researchers at Arizona State University looked into this earlier this year. The premise for the study was that adolescents who are bullied have higher rates of depression, but they found that, while kids at risk for or diagnosed with depression are bullied more, children without depression as a diagnosis aren’t more likely to develop depression in their teen years simply because they are bullied.

Read the rest at The Balanced Mind Foundation.