A twenty-first century approach to supporting all students

We can better support all children while eliminating restraint, seclusion, and other harsh disciplinary practices. Read this new research article to learn more.

Seclusion and restraint

Restraint and seclusion are crisis management strategies that are used in many schools across the nation and the world. Physical Restraint, is exactly what it sounds like, it is a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs or head freely. Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. These interventions are dangerous and have led to serious injuries and even death in students, teachers and staff.

According to federal guidance restraint and/or seclusion should never be used except in situations where a child’s behavior poses an imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others, and restraint and seclusion should be avoided to the greatest extent possible without endangering the safety of students and staff. The important wording here is “serious physical harm”, these measures are not intended merely for unsafe situations, but rather to situations that could result in death or serious bodily injury. As such based on federal guidance restraint and seclusion should be exceedingly rare. However, it has been found that restraint and seclusion are occurring far more frequently in schools across the nation and are not always limited to situations that involve imminent serious physical harm. [Read More]


Family hands

Respectful parenting, my journey

As a mother to 6 children, I have witnessed my share of the ups and downs in child-rearing. However, shortly after my 4th son was born I knew there was something missing and it wasn’t in him – it was in me. I was unsure of how to handle his sensitivities and dysregulated emotions. He had gone through some trauma my others hadn’t so felt it could be due to that but I still had no idea how to respond to him. I was raised with a behavioristic approach so this was all I knew. I tried so hard to understand him and connect with him but nothing ever seemed to work. We tried therapy throughout his childhood but it still didn’t seem to help much. He was kicked out of kindergarten and the teachers could not handle him.

Kieran’s Story: The impact of restraint

I am writing this on behalf of my son, Kieran with his consent. Kieran is a beautiful boy who is now twenty. The events I will describe happened when he was 15 years old. As a bit of background, Kieran was born with multiple disabilities. He has cerebral palsy, autism, a cyst on his brain (which was mostly removed when he was 5), ADHD, and epilepsy. He has been receiving physical, occupational, and speech therapy since he was a year old. He has been receiving special education services since the age of three. With a few exceptions, I was delighted with the dedication of his teachers and the care providers. You are about to hear of a huge exception!

Testimony in Support of Illinois SB2296

Good afternoon. My name is Guy Stephens. I am the executive director of the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint, a community of over 12,000 parents, teachers, school administrators, and others who are working together to influence change to better support children while eliminating restraint and seclusion practices. I know firsthand how the use of restraint and seclusion affects children and their families. I ask you today to support SB2296.   

Survivor Story: Into the woods

I was uneasy as my family drove me deeper and deeper into the woods. A lady took me and my father into a room where he signed custody of his little girl over to these people we had never met before. For the next 11 months, he paid them $12,000 every month to tear down my entire soul and tape up a flimsy image of a perfectly submissive teen to cover the void that was left inside me.

Bad Behavior or Nervous System Response

Our nervous systems and physiological states create and produce the behaviors we observe, question, discuss, punish, suspend, seclude, and attend to in all moments throughout the day! As educators who sit with 30 to 180 plus nervous systems every day, we have traditionally paid attention to observable behaviors, assessing them as appropriate, disrespectful, inappropriate, oppositional, aggressive, manipulative, and a variety of other labels and classifications.


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