Parenting For Joy - Editor’s note: Autism Awareness month is becoming a call to action from the autism and neurodivergent communities for change from the rest of society. I...
3 weeks ago
“‘That's proof that what we're doing isn't working,’ said Ross Greene, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School.
An expert on child behavior, Greene works to reduce restraint at schools and residential programs.
‘Restraints are inappropriate 99.9 percent of the time they are used,’ he said."
I have several questions regarding your school's use of the restraint device as demonstrated by your assistant principal in a news video.
I believe that this is the restraint device showed in the video http://www.orlandosentinel.com/videobeta/?watchId=6903ee18-7a19-4141-a86b-ee0cda354905:
That's a grown woman being shown to the mat, but she's too small for it. In addition, the woman is placed face down into the mat, which would put the individual at risk for suffication. Is this how the mat is being used? It's not how it's intended to be used.
What ages are the students at risk of being placed in this particular restraint and what particular safeguards are being used?
If the assistant prinicipal can't even demonstrate it correctly, what is the training of the individuals who place students in this?
What level of supervision is used while the student is in the restraint device? How long is a student left in the device?
What behaviors merit the device? Who makes the decision on when to use the restraint and what level of accountability is in place to protect students from unnecessary restraint?
At what point are parents informed that their child is in restraint?
Thank you for answering the questions. I appreciate it.
Concerned parent and educator
I am a mother of three on the spectrum, an educator, and am active in advocacy for the disabled, mostly through the use of scholarly pieces on Science 2.0 and on the Autism Blogs Directory, and a personal blog, Countering. My writing partner and I have been examining the Orlando Sentinal video of Assistant Principal Denise Calio demonstrating the use of the ultimate restraint system, and I am currently working on a piece for Science 2.0 on the use (and misuse) of restraints in Magnolia School.
I am including below the email I sent the principal of Magnolia School. I have not heard back from him.
I would appreciate answers to the questions I pose below to the principal, as well the following:
How many children under the height of 4'8" have been put in the ultimate restraint system? The restraint shown appears to be adult sized and was too large for the woman put in.
Have they been put in face down? That's the incorrect positioning.
What behaviors lead to the use of this restraint and what is the longest someone has been in it?
Why do you wait 15 minutes before summoning a nurse to monitor the student?
What accountability are faculty and staff held to to justify the use of this restraint?
How do you account for the high number of restraints in this particular school and what are you doing to decrease the number?
Has any staff or faculty member been disciplined for using the restraint for times where it was not justified (let me tell you, if the assistant principal is deciding, since she couldn't demonstrate the device right, I'd be concerned about her ability to decide when it's appropriate. After all, she thinks they "can practice their relaxation techniques" in there).
Below is my email to the prinicipal. I appreciate your timely response to this matter. (The above email to the principal was included).
“Magnolia School Restraint
Magnolia School is a Special Day School. The educational needs of students that attend Magnolia are extensive. Some students that attend Magnolia have Behavior Intervention Plans. Behavior Intervention Plans are developed during an Individual Education Plan meeting with parents or guardians.
The intent of the video was to educate the public regarding the use of mechanical restraint as a safety intervention. It is used only as a last resort during times of crisis (continuous self injury or continuous physical aggression.) The mat in the video is one of several sizes made for Magnolia School and is used in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines.
Safeguards are put in place when implementing manual restraint or seclusion. Safeguards include trained classroom staff in the use of restraint, behavior specialists/analysts, administrators, and experienced nurses. Data is collected and reported on the same day to parents and guardians via email and in writing as well as the Department of Education.”
- Please see the two attached files.**One file breaks it down by district, Orange County had 1910 incidents involving 244 students.
Incidents of Restraint and Seclusion Cumulative Through March 2011
Restraint Incidents Through March 2011,
· 8,222 incidents of restraint involving 2,944 students
Distribution of Restraint Incidents by Grade Levels· Grades PK-3: 42%
· Grades 4-8: 40%
· Grades 9-12: 17%
Distribution of Restraint Incidents by Exceptionality
· Emotional/Behavior Disabilities: 46%
· Autism Spectrum Disorders: 22%
· Intellectual Disabilities: 10%
· Specific Learning Disabilities: 5%
· Other Disability: 16%
Seclusion Incidents Through March 2011, districts reported
· 3,386 incidents of seclusion involving 1,047 students
Distribution of Seclusion Incidents by Grade Levels· Grades PK-3: 35%
· Grades 4-8: 47%
· Grades 9-12: 18%
Distribution of Seclusion Incidents by Exceptionality
· Emotional/Behavior Disabilities: 69%
· Autism Spectrum Disorders: 10%
· Intellectual Disabilities: 11%
· Specific Learning Disabilities: 2%
· Other Disability: 8%
- Regarding the training that the faculty and staff have received should be directed to the Orange County School District. Dr. Anna Diaz, is the Associate Superintendent for Exceptional Student Education. Dr. Diaz may be reached at 407/317-3229.**I have a follow up request under FOIA into the specific school district.
- No. The state does not purchase any restraint systems, nor does the state "purchase" training in crisis management for school district staff. Such purchases would be made by school districts.4. How many schools in Florida own and use this restraint system that the Sheriffs.org says is "designed for combative/violent psychiatric patients and is in use at various psychiatric care facilities on the U.S. east coast. Currently, the system comes with a stiff board that gives it rigidity.
- We do not have this information.
- We have no information on this.
- If a school district has acquired a specific system, then it would be incumbent on the district to make sure the restraint is being used appropriately.
- Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, school districts have been reporting data regarding the use of seclusion and restraint. The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) has been reviewing this data received throughout the year. Additionally, school districts provided BEESS with copies of their policies and procedures related to incident reporting procedures, data collection, monitoring and reporting of data collected. Lastly, we have begun to field test on-site monitoring procedures.
- The Bureau receives information on the type, duration of the restraint, and the student’s behavior leading up to and precipitating the use of restraint. Because type of restraint is currently a text box, we are unable to aggregate and report data on the specific types of restraint used.I also spoke to John Gillen, the head of the company who makes the restraints, and he does not provide training or guidelines for the use of the restraints. He sells the ultimate restraint for face-up use, but acknowledges that institutions may and do use the restraint face-down with violent clients to protect the staff and the client from the client's aggression. He does not make the ultimate restraint smaller than the 4'8" size, but notes that the wraps are meshed nylon and that the top restraint does not have to be fastened.