Experienced restraint or seclusion?

While they can be difficult to share, our stories are critical for influencing change. Our stories help others to realize that they are not alone and that they too can influence change.

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]


Questioning the evidence behind evidence-based approaches

Some of the most ineffective and sometimes most harmful treatments are considered “evidence-based.” The phrase in isolation is meaningless without understanding the quality of the evidence AND whether the evidence supports the purpose for which the treatment is being used. Additionally, practices that were at one time considered evidence-based can be found (through additional research … Continue reading Questioning the evidence behind evidence-based approaches

Connections Over Compliance: Book Review

Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline, by Dr. Lori Desautels is a gift for teachers, principals, university professors, state and federal departments of education and for parents.  Even more importantly, it is a blessing for all the students whose teachers, support staff and administrators and parents read, understand, and apply the wealth of … Continue reading Connections Over Compliance: Book Review

Changing my lens on Oppositional Defiant Disorder

I have struggled with letting go of my viewing lens for my youngest son; I seem to have seen him as oppositional (and subsequently then push him to be defiant) since he was about a year old. We recently went to his first real optometry appointment because he advocated his need for glasses (it was only a matter of when) and it was very enlightening. In case you aren’t familiar with the procedure, one portion has a patient looking into a phoropter.

Interview with Ron Garrison on Restraint and Seclusion

The following is the partial transcript of an interview with Ron Garrison in early 2018. Mr. Garrison is a retired educator with experience at all levels of the educational sector. He holds a master’s degree in school safety and has been an expert witness in more than eighty-five cases involving restraint and seclusion.

Tips for a Successful I.E.P Meeting

You arrive at the school and check-in. A secretary escorts you to the conference room. You enter to find a group of people already seated around a long rectangular conference table. Some of the individuals you recognize but some you do not. You take a seat and your child’s teacher says “let’s get started.” You are at your first I.E.P (Individualized Education Plan) meeting. You are not sure what to expect but trust that the people in the room are there to make sure your child receives all of the services needed for success. I mean, we are all on the same team with the same goals in mind, right? In a perfect world, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.


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