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The dream turns sour!

Unpleasant experiences of parents of  children with special needs in the UK today. Visit

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The Bullying of Children with Learning Disabilities - ENABLE Scotland 2007

Our work with our Young People’s Self Advocacy Groups has revealed that bullying is also an important issue for children and young people with learning disabilities. We joined forces with Mencap to undertake UK wide research to find out the scale and nature of the problem and most importantly to tell us more about how to stop it.

We knew that bullying of children with learning disabilities existed. We knew that it is widespread and has a significant effect on children’s lives. However, we were shocked by the results that the survey revealed. We could not have predicted the scale of the problem.

  • The sheer numbers of children who were bullied
  • The persistence of bullying throughout childhood
  • The failure of adults to stop bullying when it is reported
  • The range of places where bullying takes place
  • The effects bullying has on the emotional state of childrenThe social exclusion faced by children who are afraid to go out

Bullying is not just a part of growing up. ENABLE Scotland believes that no child should have to put up with bullying and that we all have a responsibility to speak up to ensure that this stops.

Headline Results

  • 93% of children with learning disabilities have been bullied
  • 46% of children with learning disabilities have been physically assaulted
  • Half have been bullied persistently for more than two years
  • Bullying is not just a school issue
  • 40% are too scared to go to places where they have been bullied

December 2003 Review - The impact of paid adult support on the participation and learning of pupils in mainstream schools

A recent government consultation paper on the role of school support staff DfES, 2002 indicated that there were over 100,000 working in schools - an increase of over 50 percent since 1997.

• Paid adult support staff can sometimes be seen as stigmatising the pupils they support. Paid adult support staff can sometimes thwart inclusion by working in relative isolation with the pupils they are supporting and by not helping their pupils, other pupils in the class and the classroom teacher to interact with each other.

• Paid adult support shows no consistent or clear overall effect on class attainment scores. Paid adult support may have an impact on individual but not class test scores.

• Most significantly, there is evidence from several studies of a tension between paid adult support behaviour that contributes to short-term changes in pupils, and those which are associated with the longer-term developments of pupils as learners. Paid adult support strategies associated with on-task behaviour in the short term do not necessarily help pupils to construct their own identity as learners, and some studies in this cluster suggest that in such strategies can actively hinder this process.

• Paid adult support staff can positively affect on-task behaviour of students through their close proximity. Continuous close proximity of paid adult support can have unintended, negative effects on longer-term aspects of pupil participation and teacher engagement. Less engaged teachers can be associated with the isolation of both students with disabilities and their support staff, insular relationships between paid adult support staff and students, and stigmatisation of pupils who come to reject the close proximity of paid adult support.

• Given current interest in involving users in planning, carrying out and evaluating research, it is surprising that so few studies actually focus on the pupils' views.