Having a special need does not necessarily cause depression amongst individuals — rather, it is the frequent bullying or being left out that causes emotional turmoil.
While much research points to the fact that bullying increases risk for academic and emotional problems, not much research has been completed about the impact of bullying on children with special needs.
In a study led by Margaret Ellis McKenna, M.D., researchers followed subjects aged 8 to 17 years with a variety of diagnoses, including ADHD, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, sickle cell disease, obesity, learning disability, autism spectrum disorder, and short stature. Caregivers completed screening questionnaires related to depression and anxiety, and the subjects also completed questionnaires regarding bullying and exclusion from peers.
The results of the study show that being bullied is the strongest predictor of depression and anxiety. While many children face a great deal of struggles with their developmental or medical diagnoses, bullying from peers was the number-one cause of emotional distress.
Researchers suggest individuals with special needs are particularly susceptible to bullying, and they urge schools to put into place clear policies against bullying.
Source: Psych Central
Photo by Bullying Be Gone