Tourettes and Bullying

Kids with Tourettes who get bullied    

     So why does bullying a kid with Tourette’s pose a problem? Bullying doesn’t just happen to the smallest kid in the class. Bullies target those who appear less powerful or not as strong. Children who bully others also often target children who seem “different.” Therefore anyone with Tourettes Syndrome (TS) and other disabilities are at significantly higher risk of being bullied. It is important to understand the effects of bullying, a child’s legal right not to be bullied, and where to find additional resources.
Bullying, teasing, and harassment should not be considered normal rites of passage or just “kids being kids”. So learn more about the effects of bullying. What can adults do to prevent bullying? Where do I find additional resources?

What is bullying?

     The definition of bullying is that it is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. The aggressive behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. It can include physical, involving hitting or attacking another person or their possessions. Bullying can come in the form of verbal aggression. This includes teasing, name calling, verbal threats, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, and threatening to cause harm.

     Sometimes bullying comes in the form of social aggression, which involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying can include excluding someone on purpose. It includes telling other children not to form a friendship with someone, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public.

     Furthermore bullying can happen in person, or can also come in the form of electronic aggression (e.g., cyberbullying using the Internet or cell phones). It can include threatening, embarrassing, or insulting emails, texts, or social media posts.

What are the effects of bullying?

Children and youth who experience bullying are more likely than other children to:

  • Experience depression, feeling lonely, and anxious are common among those those being bullied. 
  • Develop low self-esteem.
  • Experience headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and poor eating.
    Have more frequent absences in school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance.
    Think about suicide or plan for suicide.

     So bullying hurts everyone that comes into contact with it. It causes lasting problems not only for children enduring the bullying, but also for children who bully and those who witness bullying. Read more about the effects of bullying external icon.

Legal Rights

     Laws exist to try to protect children by peers, school personnel, or other adults. Tourette Syndrome is recognized as a disability in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Disability harassment means discrimination that violates section 504 and its regulations external icon. Under Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability harassment in schools means, “intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability that creates a hostile environment. If it interferes with or denies a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution’s program. Harassing conduct may take many forms. This include’s verbal acts and name-calling, as well as nonverbal behavior. It can also include graphic and written statements, or conduct that is physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating.”