Responding to Chris Mooney in the LAT
"Put The Needle On The Record" Rapping on YouTube on Vaccines

VoiceAmerica on Restraint and Seclusion of Special Ed Students

Handcuff Autism One: A Conversation of Hope
Tuesday, August 25, 12:00 noon Eastern Time
Host: Teri Arranga on the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel HERE.

Who will teach our children?  From alphabets to abuse, with Dr. Roy Leonardi and Lori McIlwain.

On July 7, we talked with Lori McIlwain of the National Autism Association about restraint and seclusion of special ed students in schools.  An NAA release cited that, in May of 2009, a government report listed 19 state governments that have yet to regulate the practices of restraint and seclusion in schools.  The report also cited multiple cases of improper restraint and seclusion resulting in death, injury, and emotional trauma of children with varying disabilities.  Lori returns with Dr. Roy Leonardi, Assistant Professor in the School of Education & Professional Studies, Department of Special Education, at Central Connecticut State University.  How can we protect our children?  How can we teach our teachers well?

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If you cannot admit that there is a need for quality teachers in the special education classrooms then it is you who needs to open your eyes. I live these problems and I am activley involved in my son's classroom. I am also lucky enough to be a part of the miraculous work my sister does. Funny enough, her principal recently told her, after seeing her classroom sitting at their desks doing a writing assignment, tha he didn't know these kids could be taught. My sister's "kids" are all severe and all work hard. Why? For the last decade he has never employed a special education teacher that taught those kids. NEVER! While I appreciate the fact that he humbled himself to admit this to her, it is a sad representation of the mindset of those in the education field as to what can be expected from these kids. NONE of her children have EVER had to be secluded or restrained. Can you say the same about a room full of severe kids? She reached them as individuals instead of trying to have a NT classroom without NT kids. I am sure that you are a great teacher, but if you do not see the need for more quality teachers in the special education arena then I have to wonder a little about your viewpoint of the potential for these kids. So you are wrong to accuse me of being "ignorant" about teachers. I come from a family of them and know very well that there are good and bad ones PERIOD. I am not so silly as to believe that just because someone is a teacher that that makes them care for kids. I am also not so blind that I don't realize that mainstraming is more than a challenge for many teachers. And I realize that disruptions are the flavor of the day EVERY day. But where you accuse me of blaming the teacher, I apparently am accusing you of blaming the child. Certainly ultimately there are just too many sick kids and never enough resources for schools. That has to change. But the answer cannot be...if your child is a problem they need to be removed so a teacher can get on with working with the rest of the class. We need a better answer, and rather than get defensive, I think teachers and special education coordinators need to get together and brain storm. There are reasons behind disruptive behavior, that is what needs to be looked at and taylored for specific kids. All children can be successful, it is the teachers job to make that happen.
Thank you for your reply.

Ann Benson


I have been a teacher for 35 years and I have had not only had the 'regular' students but also the blind and the deaf mainstreamed into my classroom.
I have found that when people are critical of the teachers it is only out of ignorance. Many a time I have invited the parent(s) to spend a day with me and see what really goes on and why children need to be restrained and secluded especially when they are throwing crayons, chairs and biting others and bolting. These energy filled flare ups happen, many times, without warning.

I know that what I write to you goes in one ear and out the other because it is not uncommon for the teacher to be blamed for the disorders of the children. Who else can we blame if not those lazy teachers, right?

Parents need to get into the classroom and work with the teachers before they pass judgment.

Parents have come into my classroom but they have never been able to resolve the issues of children who have special needs that may be beyond your imagination.


Excuse me, but "poor teacher"? The sad part of special ed is that it is riddled with poor quality teachers...that is the biggest problem. I know I recently bragged about my sister as a Spec Ed teacher, and I found out the following day that her classroom will be used as a model for special needs classrooms in Ga. She is in a north Ga county and at least in that county, special needs are taken seriously. It is not about the bad kid who needs restraints. It is about a child in crisis in need of a teacher with a desire to reach them instead of secluding him away from the class. I am sure there must be times when restraints may need to be used. But these times should be few and far between. My sis made a comment about the kids expecting tv from her when she arrived. Little did they know, she was going to take the time to reach/teach them. My son's Pre-k teacher was also new to our school, which made me nervous. Sadly enough, I find her "lazy"...and the sad part to that is that by all accounts she is head and shoulders about the last one. Special Education classrooms need to stop being the "dump" classroom where little is given or expected. That is the ultimate problem IMHO.

Ann Benson

I think that every parent of child who can not be controlled by seclusion or restraint be called to pick up their child and take them home where they can be handled without restraints or seclusion. The poor teacher can then resume teaching the other children.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

I do not think that you can simply say- Dont restrain and seclude. You have to offer viable alternatives to the poor teachers, who are probably having a tough time. The number one priority should be to have a conference devoted to this topic where people who love autistic children can weigh in with their suggestions.


Most people do not have a clue what's taking place, including many (most?) in our community. Parents and caregivers as well as the wide range of professionals (like teachers) who interact with people with autism need to receive robust safety education before, not after, something bad happens.

The all to frequent deaths due to prone restraint, drownings, elopements, physical and verbal abuse grab the headlines day after depressing's another today: My advocacy on safety issues tells me that these stories are only the tip of the iceberg.

One of the things a large national organization brings to the table is marketing on a scale that can make a dent in the status quo. That's why I'm happy that Autism Speaks, in collaboration with ASA and many others constructed and funded the Autism Safety Project (thanks to a grant from FedEx Corp.)

Ongoing outreach to the professional groups listed on the site is taking place. Near term plans will involve bringing the 1,000,000 private (contract) security professionals into the mix.

I urge anyone and everyone who has any interaction with a child or adult with well as those who have get up to speed on safety issues. Age of Autism has a lot of seasoned vets on it who can help. Unfortunately, our community is growing daily. In your travels or at conferences, when any of you come across a someone new to autism, please tell them that safety issues are something they absolutely need to know!


Thanks for keeping up the pressure and the posts. There's about to be more on the news regarding this. Unlike the news blackouts on children who die of drug and vaccine reactions, news stations don't seem to be aware of any reason not to cover these abuses. I don't know that the teacher's union or the DOE has the kind of clout or industry support to buy silence on what otherwise makes for dramatic 6 o'clock segments, but you never know. And you never know when the public will tire of saying, "Oh those poor kids" in between handfuls of popcorn. The information has to be gotten out there while there's still coverage.

Roger Kulp

Would I be mistaken if I said this is not an issue the public at large even knows exists ? If you go to the APRAIS site,it has a definite feel of preaching to the choir.There is little or no information,for the unitiated, explaining,in detail,what Restraint and Seclusion is,and why it is used.Yes those who know about autism know about it,as do others involved with the disabled,but I am willing to bet most people do not.


Every parent with a disabled child needs to know this is happening. Thank you for the continued coverage. This needs to stop now.

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