Stopping Bullying Before It Starts

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM CDT

Posted by Melissa Burlaga

Gregory is often afraid to play with the other kids .

"He's got a lot of anxiety issues. He feels often uncomfortable with the way that his body feels, so going into new situations often feels threatening."

So once a week, he comes to a new kind of class.

Here – many of the kids have developmental disorders– and ... As a result ... They are shy and withdrawn.

Therapist: "Hi. I don't hear you." Gregory: "Hi." Therapist: "Was that loud?" Gregory says slightly more forcefully. "Hi!"

In group therapy– the kids are asked to speak up ... And make eye contact with the other kids.

"How are you today?"

Sammy: "Extremely, happy." Music Therapist: "Extremely happy? Can you look at the group and tell them how you feel?"

The games are designed to build confidence. Here, the kids are forced to give themselves a compliment .

Susan: "Mr. Gregory? What's good about you? What is your goodest thing? Oh, come on now. Gregory. Ah, at computers. Your good at computers, that's great!"

They also learn how to make friends and get along with other kids .

"What should we say?" Cody: "Do you want to play?" Therapist: "Say, can I play with you."

The class lasts 8 weeks and when it's done, most of these kids aren't so shy anymore .

"My son is a totally different person. He used to kind of sit in the back of the class. Now, after this class, he is sitting in the front row and raising his hand and shouting out and his teachers say he is totally blossoming."

"You can wave, hello! You can look in their eyes."