Share Your Story

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. Our stories can influence members of the media to investigate and write articles that can inspire change. Our stories can connect with lawmakers who can change the law to protect our children and our loved ones. Please share your story and let us know how we can use it to influence change.

Read stories from others

Here are stories from parents, advocates, educators and others related to the use of restraint and seclusion.

The memories will haunt me

I have been on multiple adolescent inpatient psychiatric units and, as a result, have seen the use of seclusion and restraint. I will forever live with the memories of seeing people restrained on the restraint bed and in the seclusion room. Those memories will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. While I was inpatient, the staff (thankfully) used it correctly when a patient was at risk of serious injury or death to themselves or others.

An Avoidable Crisis: The Keeping All Students Safe Act (Part 3)

Today’s guest author is Jennifer Abbanat. Jennifer is a wife and mom to three kids ages 18, 16, and 13. Jennifer is an advocate and voice for her neurodivergent children. She and her family live in Northern California. One shift in our mindset can mean the difference in appropriately meeting a child’s needs or potential … Continue reading An Avoidable Crisis: The Keeping All Students Safe Act (Part 3)

An Avoidable Crisis: The Unlucky Ones (Part 2)

Dr. Ross Greene refers to kids with “lucky behaviors” and those with” unlucky behaviors.” Kids with lucky behaviors are often more capable of “using words” to describe their feelings. These kids often pout, cry, whine, withdraw, and these lucky behaviors usually get them empathy from the caregiver. This is why they are thought of as “lucky behaviors.” These behaviors do not get a child put in time out, spanked, hit, yelled at, recess taken away, punished, isolated, and worse, restrained by an adult. They have lucky ways of communicating that move the adult to empathize and bring a sense of connection and compassion to the child. This child gets soft eyes and hugs when they behave this way. The adult wants to comfort them to ease their distress.

An Avoidable Crisis: The Focus on Compliance (Part 1)

We hear from so many parents, caregivers, and teachers how “out of control” so many kids they work with are. They describe them as rude, disrespectful, disruptive, always touching things, and one of my favorites, can’t sit still. But what makes “these kids” so terrible?

Don’t punish us for being autistic

Schools punishing students with autism for running (elopement) is sad. I was a runner when young. Please know that it is not to misbehave, but rather to escape the experience of autism’s confusing world. Your world is bearable, but ours is often jumpy or noisy or spinning. Running and feeling air swirling about can help erase these scary feelings. The escape made adults angry, but I could not keep my body there because it did as it pleased and did not listen to my directions. Please consider the confusing world of autism when deciding how to help us. Placing us inside a room with no way out or restraining us is punishing us for a disability we cannot rid ourselves of.

Our Road to Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC)

When I think back to the long road that we’ve been down when it comes to augmentative and alternative communication and using an AAC device, it’s unreal. When a speech-language pathologist (SLP) tells you that it will take a child 2-3 years to begin to grasp this new language, much like learning any language during typical child development, they don’t figure in the potential years of advocacy. For us, it was an additional 5 ½ years.

How I survived and helped shut down Freedom Village U.S.A.

Upstate New York was like nothing I’d ever seen. The single road rose, fell, and rounded every curve of nature’s course. As if to say that, at any moment, nature could swallow it whole if she really wanted to. Despite the horrors that led me here, it was absolutely breathtaking. A shimmer of hope fluttered in my chest. It was the dead of winter, but nothing was colder than the look in my mother’s eyes. Her husband was happier than I had seen him in a long time. Of course, he’s thrilled, and he doesn’t want me talking about the fact he had his hands around my neck. 

Abused and unable to tell your parents

Imagine being unable to talk for a single day. Unable to express your needs. You can’t write or text. Stop reading this and take 30 seconds to truly grasp how difficult and stressful it would be to go through a single day without any traditional means of communication.

No laws in Nebraska, leads to abuse of seclusion and restraint

Our nation’s schools use seclusion rooms for students as young as five-years old. They don’t call them that of course. It doesn’t sound nice to call them what they are. They sometimes call them alternative learning rooms.  Let me pose a question here – how much ‘learning’ can take place in a padded room with nothing inside? Let me pose another question, as these are also referred to as ‘calm down’ rooms. Who in the world could calm down by being shut in an empty padded room? Where’s the bean bag chair? The sensory soothing items? A swing? A soothing weighted blanket? How about some fidgets?


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