How to Help Your Kids Help Themselves: Advice for parents who are trying to stop bullying

A look at one of our changemaking clients, Nevada Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

This is an excerpt from our most recent publication "How do You Stop a Bully?" for Nevada Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities. You can find this and more publications like it by visiting our website at

by Jill Spear

Dear Council,

My child is being bullied at school and I’m very worried about it. What can we do to stop this?

Robin Kincaid, Director of Educational Services, Nevada PEP

“Families need support, help and someone to listen when their children are being bullied,” says Robin Kincaid, Director of Educational Services at Nevada PEP (Parents Encouraging Parents). Kincaid and her co-workers — all of whom are parents of a child or children with disabilities — strive to stop the cycle of bullying.

While bullying is a constant problem in the disability community, there are many solutions available to children and their families. Kincaid, who has worked at Nevada PEP for 23 years, receives lots of worried calls like the note above. She and her organization offer training to parents and caregivers on how to stop bullying of children and young adults, ages 0-26.

Victims of bullying are not to blame for the hurtful actions of others, but three things can trigger bullying, according to Kincaid: Being without friends or other people; appearing to be vulnerable; and the child’s reaction to the bully.

If the child or young person doesn’t speak up, they’re more likely to be bullied again.

“We encourage families to go through a process called Safe Voice. Families or students can go to the Safe Voice website ( with the complaint, which is received by the Nevada Public Safety Commission, and then goes to the correct authorities,” she says.

“Families need support, help and someone to listen when their children are being bullied.”

Robin Kincaid, Director of Educational Services, Nevada PEP

If it’s a case of bullying, the complaint goes to the school, which investigates, then creates a safety plan for the student. This may involve an alternate route to class or supervision from an adult at school who takes the student from class to class.

Everyone involved is contacted, including the bully, and the school works with the bully to tell the individual to stop, which may include discipline. Both the bully and the student being bullied receive counseling.

Nevada PEP, which can be found online at, deals with every kind of disability, from autism to mental health issues. “By the time these children are adults, we hope they’ll have the tools to deal with this. We’re working on advocacy skills with teens, too.” Kincaid adds, “We try to encourage the idea of ‘upstanders’ in schools, meaning kids who will stand up to bullies. However, our education is for the family, and providing teaching moments for both the bully and the person being bullied.”

Full publication here.

Related: No Barriers.