On the ferry over, I sat and made a couple of changes to the 'Bullying workshop' that I do for people with disabilities. I wanted them to have a better understanding of the tools that they have for dealing with teasing and bullying. I was satisfied with what I had in the workshop for dealing with bullies in the community, but not so much with what I had for dealing with bullies in their peer group. Increasingly I have noticed that sometimes people with intellectual disabilities are unkind to each other, that sometimes the bullying comes from within. There is a different set of skills that they can use in this situation.
We did a variant of a role play I've used often.
Two people are out for a pizza and they only have enough for one pizza. The man wants pineapple on the pizza, she doesn't. I ask the group a question, 'he's the man, he's paying, shouldn't he just make her eat the pizza?' We discuss why it would be wrong for him to do that. They get it. Then we come up with a solution. Having the pizza half with pineapple and half without. Good, done, that's where I always stop.
I added a wrinkle. What if he says, 'no' to the compromise. What if he says, 'It's my money, I don't care what you want. You'll do what I say.'
What shocked me was that almost the entire group caved. They thought that 'oh, well, I guess she's got to eat the pineapples.'
I said, 'Hold on, she's got some tools here that she can use. What are they?
They fumbled around and finally someone said, not at all sure of himself, 'We'll, she's got her voice.'
Ah, ha, I said, 'You betcha she's got her voice, what other tools does she have?'
Someone else said, quizzically, 'Her temper?'
Yes! 'Anger serves a purpose some times. Other tools?'
A very bright young woman said, 'Her will.'
'OK, she's got voice, she's got temper, she's got will.' What can she do with those things? Suddenly they had solution, after solution, after solution.
Other role plays flew by, we did one on bullying at a workplace, one on bullying in a classroom ... they looked for tools in each situation and then came up with ideas.
Damn and damn again, sometimes I love teaching.