Bullying in Schools: Speech Language Pathologists’ Responses to Specific Bullying Incidents
UNLABELLED Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are primary targets for bullies and victimization. Research shows school personnel may be uneducated about bullying and ways to intervene. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in schools often work with children with ASD and may have victims of bullying on their caseloads. These victims may feel most comfortable turning to SLPs for help during one-to-one treatment sessions to discuss these types of experiences. A nationwide survey mailed to 1000 school-based SLPs, using a vignette design technique, determined perceptions about intervention for bullying and use of specific strategies. Results revealed a majority of the SLPs (89%) responses were in "likely" or "very likely" to intervene categories for all types of bullying (physical, verbal, relational and cyber), regardless of whether the episode was observed or not. A factor analysis was conducted on a 14 item strategy scale for dealing with bullying for children with ASD. Three factors emerged, labeled "Report/Consult", "Educate the Victim", and Reassure the Victim". SLPs providing no services to children with ASD on their caseloads demonstrated significantly lower mean scores for the likelihood of intervention and using select strategies. SLPs may play an important role in reducing and/or eliminating bullying episodes in children with ASD. LEARNING OUTCOMES Readers will be able to (a) explain four different types of bullying, (b) describe the important role of school personnel in reducing and eliminating bullying, (c) describe the perceptions and strategies selected by SLPs to deal with bullying episodes for students with ASD, and (d) outline the potential role of SLPs in assisting students with ASD who are victimized.