Arlene is on the SCENE

Posts Tagged ‘bullying

I always told myself that my kids “aren’t involved in that cyberbullying stuff.” I spoke openly with them about the subject, listened in to their conversations when I drove carpool (the BEST source of inside scoop!), talked to them about the online rules for our family when they did begin to venture into social cyberspace. I was all set, no problem here, I thought.

But a recent perusal of facebook and twitter was a slap to the side of my ignorant head. The comments and postings that were swirling through my kids’ social circles were eye-opening–and very concerning. Come on, why would I think my kids are above all that? It’s just a fact–most are vulnerable to it. We need to adjust accordingly.

Not to say we have to cut them off from social media–that’s where it all happens, apparently. (Is it like middle school dances? The arcade? What is the 80’s equivalent of facebook?) But we really do have to be aware, and we really do have to monitor. Not in some kind of suffocating way, but just openly and honestly. Like this is the cost of doing business on facebook. Sorry…dude.

I heard about this great post on cyberbullying with an amazing graphic. Check it out:

Cyberbullying Infographic
Source: Accredited Online Colleges

Boy I wish I were announcing that Arlene On the Scene is about to made into a blockbuster motion picture!

Unfortunately…not yet!  I’ve had several students tell me recently that they have “connections”  to the industry and will put in a good word for me.  That’s terrific!  I think these kids really just want to see Plumpy rolling down the hill, flattening Joey and his buddies!  If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you really must read the book!  🙂

But we did make it to sunny CA.  Only to find it 20 degrees colder than on the east coast!  What gives?

I want to give a big shout-out to Dahlia Heights and Rockdale elementary schools for being such great audiences and great listeners.  It was so great to meet you!

Now, it’s on to Rhode Island.  Oh, you know I have to go back home again!  We’ll visit eight schools in RI in mid-April, talking to kids about differences, disability, and the power we have to change the world!

Check out our School Outreach Program: we’ll come to your school for free and donate a few copies of Arlene On the Scene for your library!  We discuss how it’s really our job, using our empathy skills, to create a safe place for all of us to be ourselves, our true selves, including difference, disability, whatever you bring to the group.  It’s all sponsored by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation to raise awareness of Charcot-Marie-Tooth, which is the condition that “Arlene” deals with.  Along with the more tricky issues that a fourth grader has to face: friends, teachers, homework, parents, big brothers…

A recent survey tells us that kids with autism are much more likely to be bullied.  The new movie, Bully, coming out this week will bring needed awareness to this important issue.  We hope to continue to contribute as much as we can to this awareness effort, school by school, student by student.

Let us know if we can come to meet you–contact us today!  We just need a few schools in the same general area, and we’ll be on our way!

The National Council on Disability (NCD), in a recent briefing paper, describes the compelling issue of bullying as it affects children with disabilities.  The NCD found that despite the significant personal and social impact that bullying has on both individuals with disabilities and on their peer group as a whole, this issue has been glossed over by educators and policy-makers alike.

Research clearly demonstrates that the inclusion of students with disabilities in the same school setting as their non-disabled peers benefits both groups.  These benefits can only be realized, however, when significant efforts are made to create what the NCD calls a “welcoming environment.”  The briefing paper outlines research demonstrating unequivocally that students with disabilities face more bullying than their non-disabled peers.

What can be done about this?  We believe that educational programs such as the one created by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation and the National CMT Resource Center can effectively address this issue by fostering a greater understanding, and more importantly, a connection, among students of all abilities.

Books like Arlene On the Scene attempt to bridge the gap by relating disability to any personal difference.  The character compares her disability to a wide range of differences: from not knowing how to ride a bike to a hidden musical talent.  As Arlene puts it, people are like a mosaic collage, and packaging your peers into a neat little box, with a single label slapped on the side, just doesn’t work.  People want to be recognized for all that they are, and any difference—race, culture, disability, disease—is a part of the human mosaic.

HNF and the National CMT Resource Center will continue to spread this message through free school presentations that offers a new way to look at disability and difference.  It is time to address the disparate impact of negative social behaviors like bullying by forging connections and understanding among school-age children and by developing attitudes that will create a more supportive environment for all.

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Arlene On the Scene is proudly sponsored by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation.

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