Individuals with a medical condition may have a wide range of defining physical characteristics that give them an unusual appearance. Children who look noticeably different from others are particularly vulnerable to getting unwanted attention, or being teased and bullied by other children. As such, caregivers often have great concerns about the medical condition that affects how their child looks and how they would cope in social situations. In fact, one predominant concern is about the child’s social acceptance and his/her ability to adapt within the school setting. As much of what children do and say comes from watching others respond and learning how to behave in actual situations, it is important that caregivers get some tips to support their children with social problem-solving.
Children can be overtly forthcoming by asking questions and making nonverbal gestures (e.g., staring) to satisfy their curiosity about another child’s different physical appearance. This may be interpreted as an unkind social experience by both you and your child. This can be particularly upsetting and confusing for your child if he/ she experiences such situations multiple times in a day, and if he/she finds it hard to tell apart harmless teasing from bullying.
Teasing Most people would have been teased at some stage and there are different types of teasing.
Bullying As opposed to teasing, bullying is when someone or a group of children do things to intentionally pick on, upset, humiliate, or hurt your child. It is usually done in a nasty and repeated way. Children who look or sound different may encounter more bullying and they can find it especially hard to deal with these upsetting situations. As with teasing, there are different types of bullying.
Your child may receive some unwanted attention such as staring, comments, and even unkind behaviours if he/she looks physically different. You can teach your child what to say or do to respond to other people’s reactions by using the below strategies.
Note: Materials in this brochure are adapted from resources in
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