October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and for Lori Ciccarelli of Mammoth Lakes it’s a time to raise awareness. Ciccarelli sits on the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. At one of her board meetings, Stuart Haskin of the organization GET SAFE made a presentation.
Haskin made an impression, and Ciccarelli invited him to Mammoth Lakes where he spoke to first responders.Haskin raises awareness among first responders on how developmentally disabled may respond in emergencies and how to recognize them. Ciccarelli said Mammoth paramedics and others appreciated Haskin’s training. Ciccarelli personally understands bullying concerns because her son is autistic. She said she saw bullying of him because of his difference. Haskin says that it is estimated 1 in 10 students are bullied by their peers. The number goes up for kids with autism and other learning disabilities.
For them bullying goes up to 57%, according to surveys. Haskin’s organization GET SAFE focuses on raising awareness. He also advises schools and other groups to create anti-bullying programs. Haskin advises open communication with children but not insistence that they talk about bullying. He says talk to your children about school, their friends and activities to see if they open up.
He adds that parents should look for drastic changes in your child’s personality or typical behavior. Haskin also says that confident children are less likely to be bullied and that adults should encourage children to ask for help. Finally, check out your school’s bullying policies. In earlier years, Haskin earned black belts in many martial arts disciplines and through his own martial arts school learned about his students’ bad experiences. He turned to development of his own personal safety programs. Check out GET SAFE programs at www.getsafeusa.com.