Share Your Restraint and Seclusion Stories with Senator Harkin
SEEKING PARENTS WITH RESTRAINT/SECLUSION STORIES FOR U.S. SENATOR HARKIN’S STAFF
HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF WHAT THE BILL DOES. PERHAPS ONE OF THESE THINGS HAPPENED TO YOUR CHILD AND THE BILL COULD HAVE PREVENTED IT FROM HAPPENING. OR PERHAPS ONE OF THESE THINGS COULD HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD (e.g. you live in a state with fewer protections).
- The bill bans all seclusion of children. This means that schools cannot lock children in rooms or closets or put them in other rooms or spaces they cannot leave (such as when furniture or a staff member blocks a door). Seclusion is dangerous; children have died or been injured.
- The bill prohibits physical restraint except in emergencies when there is an immediate threat of serious bodily injury. Far too often, children have been restrained or secluded for misbehaving, not doing their assignments, being noisy, behavioral control, discipline, punishment, threats of minor injury (like pinching), tearing up books or other minor destruction of property. Restraint can injure and kill students.
- The bill requires schools to use less restrictive measures before attempting restraint. In many cases, the school used restraint/seclusion first rather than trying less restrictive measures that would have worked. Sometimes, parents provided the school with behavioral analyses or information or information about positive supports or other things that would work and the school ignored it.
- The bill requires restraint to end when the emergency ends. There are reports that schools have continued seclusion and restraint long after any emergency ended, or required a child to perform a task or sit still for a particular period before they could get out. For some children with autism and other disabilities, this is almost impossible.
- The bill bans mechanical restraints, such as putting children in Rifton Chairs, or taping or tying them to chairs or furniture, or locking them into devices. It also bans chemical restraints, restraints that impair breathing or otherwise threaten life; restraints which are medically and psychologically contraindicated. Since prone restraint impairs breathing, it would be forbidden under the bill.
- The bill also bans restraints that prevent children from communicating. So, if a child needs assistive technology, PECS, or sign language to communicate that they are suffering or in medical distress, they cannot be restrained in a way that stops them from doing so. The bill bans aversives that compromise health and safety. All of these are dangerous.
- The bill requires schools to notify parents in writing within 24 hours of restraint and verbally the same day. Parents need quick notification because of the danger of concussions and other injuries that require quick medical treatment. In some cases, parents have not been told that their children were being restrained or secluded and only found out about it weeks, months, or years later.
- The bill prohibits putting physical restraint as a planned intervention in IEPs, 504 plans, behavioral intervention plans, student safety plans, or other educational planning documents for individual students. There are reports that restraint and seclusion have been put into children’s IEPs and then schools use them as the first intervention.
- If a child is physically restrained, there will be a debriefing with parents and staff to plan to prevent further restraint and consider additional services and supports for the child. A Functional Behavioral Assessment must be performed.
- The bill applies to all children in public school. It also applies to children with disabilities who have been placed in a private school at school district expense.
- The bill forbids retaliating against any parent, teacher, staffer, or person who reports that a child was restrained, secluded, or that the statute was otherwise violated.
Please contact me if you are a parent who would like to write a letter of support or if you have a story. You do not have to have a story to write a letter. My email is email@example.com . For those on yahoo groups and other systems that cut off email addresses, my email address is jessica (at) jnba-dot-net
Congressional Affairs Coordinator
Autism National Committee
21 years of advocating for the rights of people with autism and related disabilities
email: firstname.lastname@example.org [jessica (at) jnba.net]
Should be written up as notification to parents or care givers about the restrain is given in four hours not 24 hours.I would prefer immediate notification as a parent.
We need to minimize trauma,that the autistic child/person
receives from often strangers who do not know the child,
do not understand how to handle the child.
Posted by: oneVoice | January 01, 2012 at 02:33 PM
OK, help a layman with this.
Time-outs are seclusion are they not? So the bill would outlaw time-outs?
Water is dangerous to both children and adults. We could easily find studies saying water is dangerous, should we outlaw access to swimming pools in schools?
I think there may be some asteriks here, abuse of a child is a crime. Battery is a crime. Laws already exist to protect children, it's a matter of Mens Rae. Legislation of this type may ultimately cause more harm than good - the bill would need to be worded carefully.
On the other end of the spectrum, I can certainly see how schools, who are undertrained, could cause serious issues.
Posted by: Steve | December 30, 2011 at 12:07 PM
With all do respect I am extremely concerned by your post and misinformation about the federal bill. The bill prohibits Restraint from being written into an IEP or FBA. (see above) At this time, this can be done in nearly all states. I can't think of anything more horrific than the school having restraint in an IEP or BIP as a first line intervention!
FBAs and FAs are meant to address behaviors and reduce or eliminate them. It is mainly because schools do not know how to draft these or implement them (or refuse to) that we have restraint and students who's behaviors worsen. Positive Behavior supports are the generic form of ABA - but why would one not want these implemented i.e. provide breaks, positive reinforcement, sensory diets, etc in place of restraint?
This bill is only the beginning but at least if provides some protections for our kids. right now, these protections exist for adults and prisoners anywhere but not for children in public schools. I hope parents will do all they can to support this bill because this is the third year in a row (maybe 4th) we have been trying to pass it without success. What we need is for parents to be loud and strong and contact legislators at the right time. Parents need to be stronger than the school lobbyists fighting for the free pass to use restraints and isolation rooms as the teachers and staff wish. These are not positive behavior supports and only cause harm to students.
Posted by: Lisa | December 29, 2011 at 05:47 PM
I will never forget when my Learning Disabled son, who wasn't getting his work done because his brother with autism was making it impossible,was thrown out into the hallway at school. I found him there standing beside a table piled with his unfinished work. "What are you doing to him," I asked. The reply, "Well, he wouldn't do his work. We took his chair away too!" I not only immediately took him home but I pulled him out of school, as well. He was 11 years old.
Posted by: Martha Moyer | December 29, 2011 at 10:55 AM
This Bill supports ABA which then allows a child to be put at risk of a Funtional Analysis (FA) if a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) does not work. Thers is no dignity in FA or respect for the human mind. PBIS is rooted in ABA, which is what has caused restraint and seclusion in our schools to begin with. Why do we want more of the same and why would we want to codify more ABA for ALL students if it has not even worked for students with disabilities. I have written and called our legislators asking them to remove the "positive behavioral interventions and supports" which was codified in 1997 and has failed so many students with disabilities and their families. I hope others will call their legislators and let them know we don't need to codify ABA even futher in legislation.
Posted by: Carmen Allen | December 28, 2011 at 08:47 PM
NAA is on board with Harkin and Butler's effors on behalf of Harkin and the bill: http://www.facebook.com/messages/?action=read&tid=id.248772968517367#!/AutismRestraint/posts/346469388713114
Posted by: Adriana | December 28, 2011 at 03:07 PM
The only way you will get protections from the overuse and abuses of Restraint and Seclusion in public schools is to support this bill. Leaving things up to the state and the strong teacher's union will leave our kids vulnerable and maybe even more at risk. You have no right to refuse a "take down" (prone restraint) or seclusion room as it stands now in nearly all states. Most of the kids being restrained are not difficult children who are putting others in danger- they are mainly being restrained due to lack of compliance and because of untrained teachers and school staff. For those kids who can speak, it really doesn't matter what they say because it is the school's words against theirs. If you try to keep your kid home so they will be safe the schools will try to get you for truancy in an effort not just to put you in jail to retaliate but to push you into giving up your child's rights under IDEA and home school. School lobbyists argue that the kids are "dangerous" and teachers need protections. You need to be the children's' voices! J Butler has been a staunch advocate for our kids for years- I thank her for all she does.
Posted by: Know all to well | December 28, 2011 at 01:09 PM
John-- I understand your concerns: my child with autism was abused in school partly because we send her to DAN! doctors and have her on a special diet, etc.
All the same, Jess Butler is the Congressional Coordinator for this. In this capacity, she represents government and is the liaison for Harkin-- Autcom is her regular affiliation due to its commitment to this particular issue, which is her prime focus, but Autcom is not the intermediary. Butler is a driving force to combat school abuse and has worked with open enthusiasm with NAA and advocates on the biomed/vax safety/recovery side who work professionally on the school abuse issue 24-7. COPAA also has ASAN on its roster because R & S is an area of overlapping interest.
Posted by: biomed parents fighting school abuse | December 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM
THAT IS WHAT "THEY" CALLED IT WHEN THEY DECIDED FOR THREE YEARS TO PHYSICALLY ABUSE MY BABY AND ONLY HAD A HEART TO COME FORHT THE THIRD YEAR. I WAS CRUSHED AND MY BABYWAS DAMAGED:( THIS HAS TO STOP! I WROTE A BOOK ABOUT MY BABY'S EXPERIENCE IN HER OWN WORDS! "THROUGH KAYLI'S EYES"
GOD BLESS ALL BABIES THAT HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS!
Posted by: Sharon P. Holliman | December 28, 2011 at 10:56 AM
I have been doing pretty intense advocacy on autism issues for 10 years and I have never heard of the Autism National Committee. So I checked out their website. They are a neurodiversity group. They have links to ASAN (a group lead by Ari Neeman that argues that there is no need to find a cure for autism) and an article explaining why there is no autism epidemic which also references Morton Ann Gernsbacher, who is a major proponent of epidemic denial and policies that essentially throw low-functioning people with autism under the bus.
The National Autism Association is doing great work on restraints I would suggest that the people who read Age of Autism may want to direct their advocacy on this issue through NAA.
Posted by: John Gilmore | December 28, 2011 at 08:50 AM