Students with disabilities are significantly more likely than non-disabled students to be bullied and cyberbullyed in Connecticut high schools, according to new research by Trinity College, the University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center, and Johnson & Wales University. will be higher.
Research shows that people in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) are 87% more likely to be bullied and 55% more likely to be cyberbullied.
However, the IEP process, which mandates the development of educational plans for students with intellectual and physical disabilities, may offer a way to address some concerns, the authors say.
Published in the latest issue of Disability and Health Journal, The study was authored by Kelly E. Ferreira, Visiting Lecturer in Psychology at Trinity. Assistant Professor Tara M. Lutz, Professor Mary Beth Bruder, Director of the University Center for Excellence in Development Disabilities Education, Research and Services at UConn Health. Jonathan K. Noel, Associate Professor of Public Health at Johnson & Wales.
The IEP contains educational goals and objectives used to measure a child’s learning and educational progress and directs all aspects of a special education program. The process provides an opportunity to develop and implement positive goals related to bullying and other health risks, the authors say.
The study examined a sample of nearly 10,000 teenagers in Connecticut over four school years from 2013 to 2020. Of the participants analyzed, 11% reported having his IEP.
Data were compiled within the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, a national biennial questionnaire established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor health behaviors in young people.
The link between disability, bullying, and cyberbullying in Connecticut has been confirmed in other states. Accounts include that young people with disabilities may feel less connected and accepted by their peers. There may be less peer-to-peer interaction.
Interventions that address bullying behavior, increase student protective factors, and address school climate are needed to effect change in schools, write the study authors. Previous research has found that multiple strategies can be helpful in creating educational materials that improve attitudes towards intellectual disability. Include various disabilities. and mandate of completion.
The growing literature on disability and health risks indicates that the CDC may want to consider ways to strengthen its youth risk behavior monitoring system, the authors note. .
The researchers recommended adding a standardized measure of disability status to demographic questions to allow more students with disabilities to participate in research. Current research assumes reading levels that may exclude groups of students.
Connecticut’s student population with an IEP ranged from 12% to 16% during the study period. The percentage is consistent with national data. During the 2019-2020 school year, 7.3 million, her 14% of all students in the United States, received special education services.
This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Community Living and the University of UConn Center for Developmental Disabilities. Researchers presented early findings at the 2019 American Public Health Association conference.