Kids who stutter are more likely to get bullied by classmates. Now, a new research has said that a program designed to prevent bullying of children who stutter, is showing positive results.
There are hundreds of articles and books talking about the negative effects of bullying on the victims, peers, parents and even bullies themselves.
The program is called TAB or Teasing and Bullying Unacceptable Behaviour. According to the researchers, TAB "is one of the building blocks of change," in dealing with bullying at school.
"Attitudes predict behaviours. If we're going to get behaviour to change, a first-level intervention is changing attitudes in the classroom," said Langevin, acting executive director and director of research at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
For the study, the Langevin and team surveyed 600 students who participated in the program.
According to researchers, children who have a friend or a relative who stutters are more likely to be sensitive towards them.
"It's the children who don't know someone who stutters that generally have more negative attitudes toward kids who stutter. We're very pleased to see this group had the highest change scores since they're the group we wanted to target," said Langevin.
Another group of children who are at a more awkward stage while in a program like the TAB are the "dually involved" kids because they have been bullied but now are bullying others. Some experts say that children like these take-up bullying so that they do not become the nest target. They do not want to risk their acquired social status by supporting the victim.
"It's sort of like getting your hand caught in the cookie jar—who likes that?" Langevin said.
The study found that some children are not even aware that their teasing could hurt the other person.
"There was a subset of children who bully who were saying, 'I didn't realize I was hurting my friend or my sister,' and there was an indication that they were wanting to change," said Langevin.
According to experts, parents must talk to their children about bullying. Role playing, planning strategies that can help a kid become more confident and avoid being bullied and intervention programs can help children who are bullied. Parents are advised to be careful when intervening as direct confrontation with parents of children involved in bullying could only add to the problem.