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Bullying has been identified as a significant problem among school-aged children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance of 2015, middle school students reported being bullied at least once a week; the highest rate of bullying (25%) among public schools. Moreover 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property and 16% reported that they have been cyberbullied in the past year. While any individual might be a target of bullying, students with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be victimized than their typical peers. Moreover, individuals with disabilities tend to experience bullying in a more chronic manner when compared to their typical peers. Research suggests that the lack of participation of children with disabilities in general education, athletic programs, and mainstream educational clubs and organizations exacerbates the situation since it perpetuates a lack of understanding and interaction among students with and without disabilities. Peer interactions and relationships are critical ingredients for developing social skills during childhood.

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Current evidence

To date, Silton and her research team have tested various iterations of the Realabilties Comic Book Series educational materials on nearly 1,000 students in schools across the United States. Not only have the teachers, students and schools raved about the appeal of the comic books and instructional materials, typical elementary school students showed significantly improved knowledge, behavioral intentions (using the Shared Activities Questionnaire) and cognitive attitudes (using the Adjective Checklist) towards their peers with disabilities following the curriculum. A full, detailed write-up of research results is available upon request.

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Dr. NAVA Silton

Silton, a Developmental Psychologist, received her B.S. from Cornell University in 2002 and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham University in 2009. Silton has worked at Nickelodeon, Sesame Street Workshop and Mediakidz and has consulted for Netflix and the Autism Seaver Center. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Marymount Manhattan College. In her spare time, Nava serves as a psychology point person for both Fox 5 News and NBC News. Nava has published over 36 peer-reviewed journal articles and has edited two books pertaining to disabilities: Innovative Technologies to Benefit Children with Autism in March 2014 and Recent Advances in Assistive Technologies to Support Children with Developmental Disorders in June 2015. She published her third edited book: Exploring the Benefits of Creativity in Education, Media and the Arts in July 2016. With her extensive Developmental and Media Psychology background, Silton created the Addy & Uno TV Show and the Realabilities Educational Comic Book Series to help foster knowledge and sensitivity of typical children towards children with disabilities. The series also seeks to advance a stop bullying platform in the schools. This past summer, Silton created and also executive produced Realabilities, A New Puppet Show Musical, which will hit many more schools and theaters in 2017. Nava is the wife of Dr. Ariel Brandwein, a Pediatric Critical Care Physician and is the proud mother of three little guys, Judah, Jonah and Jacob Brandwein.