Bullying: How to Use Your IEP to Get Through Tough Social Situations

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We can't control a bully, but we can still help the child being bullied! If your child has an IEP and is being bullied, consider putting the skills below into your child's IEP.  By putting these skills into your child's IEP you are bringing the situation to everyone's attention AND helping your child.  I grabbed this list below from Ability Path, they did a great job giving you parent friendly words to bring to your IEP team! Goals for the IEP team to consider include:
  • Social skills work, both individual and group
  • Speech and language skills
  • Self-advocacy skills
  • Self-awareness and strength building skills
The following are examples of IEP goals and interventions that can directly or indirectly help address bullying issues:
  • Improve social understanding by having goals focused around sharing, taking turns or thinking before acting (PACER Center, 2003). Use concrete “real world” situations. The focus of this goal should not be to teach the child to be less “teaseable,” but should be interpersonal skill building.
  • Participate in a social skills group. By being given the opportunity to practice social situations, role playing, social stories and other techniques, with school peers, under adult supervision, the child may better identify and understand difficult situations when they occur. Groups such as this one can also facilitate friendships and a sense of not being alone.
  • Increase self-advocacy skills so that the child can say “stop that” or walk away.
  • Help the child develop and learn a brief/non-confrontational verbal response to the bully. Practice both direct and indirect ways to react to, handle or avoid bullying behavior.
  • Speech and language goals should be set with the help of a speech and language specialist. These goals should focus on articulation, speech intelligibility and language pragmatics.
  • Increase the child’s self-awareness about their disability. Learning their strengths and feeling proud of who they are and their accomplishments, while also understanding how their disability may impact them, particularly in social situations, is often important.
  • Help the child identify bullying as well as how and to whom to report it. Keep in mind that some children may have a difficult time determining that they are a target of bullying behavior.
  • Goals that help educate the child on the difference between reporting an incident and ratting/tattling as well as identifying the difference between playful teasing and hurtful teasing/bullying may be needed.
  • Teach the child a signal system to use when in need of friend or adult intervention.
  • Identify and facilitate a relationship with a school staff person who can help the child make reports of incidents and who will provide the child with additional intervention and support.
If social situations are impeding the child’s ability to access their education, then it must be appropriately remedied. Being the target of bullying can bring some children’s social needs into sharper focus. In addition to new goals, a new assessment may be appropriate.

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