How Seclusion and Restraint came to be Outlawed in New Zealand

Today’s guest author is John Greally. John, 58, a statistician, is a serial co-founder of many autistic organisations that work for better lives for autistics globally and in New Zealand. As an autistic, son of an autistic, and father of an autistic, John supports all efforts to transform autistic lives stuck because of old intractable approaches that are going nowhere or are harmful, to ones informed by autistics and their unconditionally loving allies – away from the manipulative operant conditioning of ABA and PBS, towards acceptance, nurture, and freedom. John is married to beautiful Emma Dalmayne, successful international fighter against MMS bleach and so many other quackeries and abuses levelled at autistics, especially children.”


Once upon a time a child was locked in a closet in a Miramar school in the capital, Wellington, of a small realm, New Zealand at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.  The child said “I’ll be good, I’ll be good”, but, alas, to no avail.  A group of 3,000 autistics, students, parents, educational professionals, autism informationalists, and investigative journalists, issued an appeal to end seclusion and restraint in the land urgently.  (My own role in all of this was 1/3000th – that’s why I am so thankful to so many!)

The Minister of Education KNEW this was happening and the Minister of Education apologised.

Media and politicians picked up on the brief and persuasive campaign. It became a Bill presented to Parliament so quickly, and with unanimous support.  The idea of locking any child up that way, or pinning any child to the ground, was exposed, was seen as horrific, antediluvian stuff from another age.

Collective Activism was used to fight Seclusion. An excellent 13 year old lad became for many the face of the campaign! 13 is a great age to be!

Good news soon arrived – we were to all be successful.  The Bill passed it’s “Third Reading” in Parliament, the final hurdle before voting.

Soon the Bill became Law, an Act of Parliament.  Another New Zealand international ‘first’ along with full voting rights for women and natives back in 1893.  Four years later, as the anniversary approaches of this landmark law, we note the sky has not fallen on our heads and that Principals and Teachers, Aides and Administrators are 100% behind changes made to commence this brighter era.  It has already become hard to think we would do things ANY other way than how we do them now – free of seclusion and restraint.

~ ʎllɐǝɹƃ uɥoɾ

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