Learning disorder among children has been immensely overlooked in the increasing research that focuses on the risk factors for bullying among children with disabilities and the socio-economic impact on the victims. More significantly, many studies have focused on medical instead of the social models of learning disorders, thereby failing to recognize the negative representation of learning disorders (Zablotsky, Bradshaw, Anderson, & Law, 2014). More importantly, the social model of disability displays bullying as a compound that comprises of the problems that negatively influence self-esteem and the welfare of children with learning disorders. Thus, bullying plays a significant role in the process referred to as psycho-emotional disablism. Based on the complexity of bullying, many theories are required to properly explicate the dynamics and fully understand what promotes the behavior of bullying among children with learning disorders (Shetgiri, 2013). Also, more theories can help in explaining the negative consequences that are associated with bullying and corroborate on the concept that the school climate is highly related to the prevalence of bullying. The paper seeks to discuss the current theories that are used in explicating bullying among children with learning disorders.
Social Capital Theory
The social capital theory focuses on the benefits that accrue to individuals who participate in social relationships. More imperatively, a group of people can form social relationships with a motive to achieve certain goals and tremendously gain from their interaction with other groups of individuals. Social capital also portrays the social organizational features including norms, networks, and social trust which promote cooperation and coordination for common gain. According to the theory, individuals invest in relationships to access the resources which are found within the affairs (Lin, 2017). Understandably, social capital theorists believe that social ties provide beneficial resources. For instance, as explored in the social networks of children at school, children with a social bond to popular individuals have higher chances of accessing more information after school in which such children can interact with peers of high status forming a stronger social bond.
More imperatively, the theory of social capital can be applied in school settings in which it is represented by social status and friends. Relationships among children in school provide peer support, as well as prevent social stressors including peer rejection, especially for children with learning disorders (Lin, 2017). In school, children with learning disorders experience prolonged bullying because they lack social capital and friends to protect them from bullies. It is worth noting that children with learning disorders should have protection from peers, teachers, and the effort of their parents to reduce victimization.
Additionally, getting more social capital based on supportive friends can assist the victims to perpetually escape bullying, thereby reducing bullying among children with learning disabilities. However, children with learning disorders are usually perceived as undesirable because of their lower social rank, which creates difficulties in having more friends or social capital. Contrarily, the perpetrators usually have an easier time obtaining social capital and use such capital to victimize other children, especially those with learning disorders (Lin, 2017). They exert power over children with learning disabilities because they are believed to be more popular among the peer group.
Theory of Humiliation
The theory of humiliation refers to extreme overt derogation which takes place when people with power publicly portray the inadequacies of the weaker individuals who believe that the treatment they receive is unjustified. Thus, someone may feel powerless in the other person who becomes the victim of the actions of the powerful individual (McCauley, 2017). Notably, humiliation at school adversely affects the victims and the surrounding society. For instance, when children with learning disorders are humiliated inform of bullying, they are affected in many ways that may result in a negative impact on themselves and the school including depression which lower academic performance, thereby lowering school performance. Therefore, humiliation is recognized as a great hindrance to human development in society.
More importantly, bullying is a form of humiliation because it occurs publicly and encompasses the subjugation of people with less power, especially children with learning disorders and negatively affects the whole school community. Understandably, the theory of humiliation is applied in bullying to illuminate the impact of humiliation on the victims, as well as explain how bullying avert cohesiveness and peace within the school environment. According to previous research, humiliation aggravates interpersonal fights (McCauley, 2017). For instance, children with learning disorders who report cases of humiliation from other students also report feelings of hatred on the bullies, thereby enhancing interpersonal conflicts among children at school.
Contradictions Inconsistencies and Ambiguities
More imperatively, the social capital theory has faced a lot of contradictions because of its variability and ambiguity that has led to the weakness of the theory. The social capital theory has been contradicted in two ways; thus, social capital is not social. Social capital theorists believe that the theory helps in forming relationships that give social benefit, but it is contradicted that it reduces, abstract and simplify in a way that it does not lead to social benefit instead it provides an opportunity to the economists colonize sociological territory with significant economic notions (Rouxel, Heilmann, Aida, Tsakos, & Watt, 2015). The ambiguity of the theory is that it cannot explain the benefits that accrue to the bullying victims after making friends gain social capital in school, but gives economic empowerment to the formed relationship.
On the other hand, the theory of humiliation has faced immense contradictions, for example, the theory explains how children with learning disorders can face humiliation in school from their peers. But it is perceived that all human beings are born free and equal in their right and dignity (McCauley, 2017). Therefore, the subjugation of human beings is illegitimate. It is worth noting that children with learning disorders have their right as other human beings not to be humiliated.
Theories have been used to explain the concept of bullying among children with learning disorders including social capital theory and humiliation theory. The social capital theory has explained how the formation of social relationships leads to social benefits from the interactions among children. When children with learning disorders form relationships, they make friends with other children that give them peer support and protection, thereby not being bullied by popular children in school. Therefore, supportive friends can help the victims to escape bullying. Additionally, the theory of humiliation has also explained bullying among children with learning disorders in which such children are perceived as powerless individuals and they face humiliation from the perceived powerful children. More importantly, such theories have been contradicted with social capital being perceived as economic notion and not for social benefits, while humiliation theory has faced rejection because all human beings are born free with equal rights and dignity.
Lin, N. (2017). Building a network theory of social capital. In Social capital (pp. 3-28). Routledge. Retrieved from:https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315129457/chapters/10.4324/978131512945
McCauley, C. (2017). Toward a psychology of humiliation in asymmetric conflict. American Psychologist, 72(3), 255. Retrieved from:https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0000063
Rouxel, P. L., Heilmann, A., Aida, J., Tsakos, G., & Watt, R. G. (2015). Social capital: theory, evidence, and implications for oral health. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology, 43(2), 97-105. Retrieved from:https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cdoe.12141
Shetgiri, R. (2013). Bullying and victimization among children. Advances in pediatrics, 60(1), 33. Retrieved from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766526/
Zablotsky, B., Bradshaw, C. P., Anderson, C. M., & Law, P. (2014). Risk factors for bullying among children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism, 18(4), 419-427. Retrieved from:https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1362361313477920
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