Victimisation at school may result in long-term social, emotional and psychological effects (Parker & Asher, 1987; Sharp, 1995), particularly for children with special educational needs (Whitney et al., 1994). Children who stammer may be at risk of being bullied due to their peer-relationship and verbal difficulties.
This study aimed to explore the nature, frequency and causes of bullying amongst children who stammer as well as the short- and long-term effects of their victimisation.
The sample consisted of 276 respondents from the British Stammering Association, a national association for dysfluent people.
A retrospective analysis of school experiences related to bullying, and its effects, was conducted through both semi-structured interviews and postal questionnaires.
A majority of respondents had experienced bullying at school, and the likelihood of being bullied was related to the reported difficulties in friendship-making. Nearly one-half of teachers and families were reported as not being aware of this bullying. A majority reported immediate negative personal effects of this bullying, and 46% reported some long-term effects.
Logistic regression analyses suggested that the severity of bullying, together with other factors such as difficulty with friendships, predicted these effects.
In response to the high incidence of bullying experienced by children who stammer, a pack has been developed which aims to create a more empathetic school climate where differences are tolerated rather than assaulted.