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Portrait of Anna Liuzzo in her school classroom.

Published October 30, 2018

Using multimedia and peer-to-peer prevention support for individuals with disabilities

Reducing bully abuse against individuals with disabilities

Amanda Nickerson, director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention, and professor from the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology, and Dan Albertson, associate professor from the Department of Library and Information Studies, have been awarded $175,000 from the New York State (NYS) Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) for their collaborative research project, “Multimedia and Peer-to-Peer Prevention Support.”

“I had a previous grant with the NYS DDPC to conduct a needs assessment and advise them on their strategic planning around the issue of bullying and individuals with disabilities,” Nickerson said. “One of the needs identified through that assessment was that there was no central place for resources and support for bullying and other forms of abuse for people with disabilities.”

The goal of “Multimedia and Peer-to-Peer Prevention Support” is to create a website, resource repository and online peer-to-peer support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities experiencing various forms of exploitation and abuse. High quality resources will be identified that will help individuals build personal capacity, provide/receive peer support and gain access to external support resources by teaming with GSE students who have a technological background assist with creating the technology.

NYS DDPC solicited for proposals to develop and evaluate a central place for resources and support for bullying and other forms of abuse for people with disabilities. Nickerson had the expertise in bullying prevention, but she needed another person with background in website development, so she reached out to Albertson, and they collaborated to submit the proposal and work that led to the grant award.

Significant goals of Albertson and Nickerson is to develop several products:

  1. collection of resources to provide information and support to people with disabilities, family members and staff
  2. project website with access to the collection of digital resources and other web content
  3. peer-to-peer forum for individuals to provide and share resources
  4. a mobile application to access the content and support forum
  5. online training resources and in-person presentations about the resources.

“While bullying of youth has been described and discussed in the mainstream media for several years, little has been reported about individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who may be involved in bullying,” said Nickerson. “We must consider research on bullying prevention that includes children and adults with disabilities.”

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