Patricia Harrison, MA, CCC-SLP, a clinician at Wexford Missaukee Intermediate School District in Cadillac, Michigan shared her heart-felt story on ASHA’s publication the LEADER, along with a call to action to get involved when bullying is taking place.
Harrison knows first-hand how difficult it is for students to make it through school unscathed, especially when the student has a physical or learning disability. On February 7, 2009, Patricia’s husband found their 16-year-old son, Alex, had committed suicide a little less than two miles from the family’s home. A note revealed that their son, like many other children with social differences, took his life as a result of repeated and unbearable bullying. Unfortunately, Patricia’s story is one that is becoming more common, especially with students’ increased access to social media. Many students with learning, social, speech, and developmental differences can find it difficult, sometimes even impossible, to escape bullying and harassment.
“Through therapy, through verbal support, through games and fun, and even through just being a consistent adult presence, our company and our therapists are all making a big difference in these students’ lives,” said Clay Whitehead, co-founder of PresenceLearning, the leading provider of online speech/language therapy services to schools. “This difference we are making is real.”
PresenceLearning, agrees with Harrison that every individual who works with children should get involved in anti-bullying programs. Below are some sites that offer resources: