Kim: Below is a video that everyone in the autism community needs to see. We want a place for consensus, a place where we can agree action needs to happen (although you would have thought a sustained cacophony or chorus, your pick, would have occurred over the Judge Rotenberg Center), then this has to be one of those areas. There is absolutely no justification for this. This will not let the child practice his relaxation techniques as this assistant principal so blandly presents.
Kathleen: I was horrified watching this. Firstly, the language used to describe using this device- "The child is escorted over by two people and gently lowered on the mat." Gently? I don't know about anyone else's experience here, I can only speak from my own. There was a time when one of my sons was prone to rather large "outbursts"-screaming, kicking, throwing things. I can speak from experience in saying that there is absolutely no way that he would have accepted being "escorted" by two people-let alone be "gently lowered" anywhere. In other words-he would have fought tooth and nail against anyone trying to touch him. Furthermore, asking him to practice his "relaxation technique" in a situation where all control was taken away from him is absurd. It is more than likely, he would have quieted down from sheer exhaustion-from fighting the restraints. After which of course he would be returned to his seat. I can not imagine what the atmosphere must be like in that classroom. The constant fear-the reminder..step out of line and you will lose your freedom, your dignity and your humanity.
The justification given for using this device is to "protect against human error." What does that mean? Which humans are they talking about? Certainly not the students. Now, I understand not wanting a student to hurt themselves, or others. I understand not wanting to physically hurt a student. All of these things make sense. Restraining someone in order to prevent these things does not. Nor does trying to sell the idea that it somehow this helps the student practice their "relaxation process.". I find the idea repugnant. There are many other techniques and strategies that can be used. They do however require skills and training. It would appear that the promoting of the use of restraint is an easy fix-and definitely less costly. My question is-what does it do? When does it end? One only needs to look at the "Judge Rotenberg Center" and the testimony of parents who support the use of restraints and electro-shock aversion "therapy, to see that it doesn't end.
There are people there who have spent DECADES hooked up to electro shock back packs. Decades being treated less than animals. Decades-because it keeps them "safe." Unfortunately not safe from human error.
posted by Kim and Kathleen of ABD
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