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About 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.

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Latest Stories

What’s the problem with this functional behavioral assessment interview form?

A parent recently shared with me a functional behavior assessment student interview form that was sent home for her son to complete. The form, pictured below included five questions for the student to complete: What do you think would help you improve your behavior? What do you think should be the consequence for the misbehavior? … Continue reading What’s the problem with this functional behavioral assessment interview form?

The Places That Stole Me

have a unique way of leaving reality behind them. A child playing dress-up puts on a cardboard crown holds their plastic staff, does a royal wave, and becomes a queen or king. A child opens a box of crayons, colors the green of jungle leaves, the blue of a running river, the yellow of a lion’s fur, and is transported to a new adventurous world. In my opinion, a child’s greatest role is bringing imagination into the world.

“Hit him if he does that.”

It was hard to bring my son to school again. He had dutifully gone to school each day, unable to tell me about what he was being subjected to, never resisting or complaining. But the day he was to start at the new school the effect the experience had had on him was plain: he trembled from head to foot. His legs shook so hard I couldn’t get his socks on. I said over and over, “This is the NEW school, sweetie. The NEW school. It’s safe. I promise.”

Neuroplasticity is our human superpower!

I am determined and hopeful to share a deeper understanding of social and emotional learning through the lens of the nervous system and brain development as we move through year three of a global pandemic alongside many other adversities and challenges our schools are facing and pondering. Early in this school year, staff, educators, students, and families are already feeling the tension, fatigue, and frustration, as we navigate this return to school with the conditions from Covid and the Delta variant. The chronic unpredictability is visceral as we are trying to repair and recover from a “lost” academic year and a half for many of our students. I also recognize that for some students learning from home this past year felt regulating, and less distracting.

“Do that again and I’ll lock you in the bathroom…”

One day in August 2013, I walked into the cafeteria of my son’s school, looking to speak with his teacher. The room was crowded and noisy, filled with disabled kids, their teachers, and aides, assembling before the start of a day of Extended School Year (ESY) services or summer school. I couldn’t get very close to the teacher.

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