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Read stories from others
Here are stories from parents, advocates, educators and others related to the use of restraint and seclusion.
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.
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.”
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.
Restraints and seclusions are gateways to physical and emotional abuse, especially in the absence of adequate oversight. Unfortunately, our former school district failed to provide a safe classroom environment for my seven-year-old autistic daughter, Paige, when she joined a multi-grade special day class at Eisenhower Elementary, a school within the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) in California. The district allowed her teacher to treat Paige and other children illegally, abusively, and inappropriately. I wish I had simply homeschooled her from the start.
This article aims to offer a tool to avoid losing students online when hybrid learning is the operative mode. To achieve that, first I’ll set the stage – or context – for the current need for this novel tool. Second, I’ll state the reasons why this tool might prevent losing what is fundamental for learning and why it is different from other tools in use. And third, I’ll give you some examples for those in Education, especially in Early Childhood Education Centers (ECECs), to put the tool into use.
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.
Many folks don’t know that seclusion and restraint techniques are used as interventions when students aren’t able to comply with the task at hand during the school day. Unfortunately, these methods cause trauma and sometimes irreparable damage, developmental regression, injury, and even death.
My son is, Stryder, is in 5th grade. Stryder has autism, learning disabilities, auditory processing disorder, sensory processing disorder, and ADHD. This school year has been difficult for him to say the least. Stryder is in a hybrid model where he receives in-person instruction at school 4 days a week and on Wednesdays, he does virtual learning from home. The transitions are difficult for Strdyer because the expectations vary from setting to setting. Additionally, Stryder struggles with math and reading so during these subjects we tend to see increased behaviors that communicate he is challenged.
I think restrainers and secluders think they’re referring to the adjective form, but as someone who has been locked alone and afraid in a seclusion cell, I’d say it felt more like the noun. Except, by erasing me in a closet, it told me I was anything BUT “valuable.” It felt more like all the other children were valuable and being protected FROM me. My feelings or pain never mattered. That was clear. I was little, but I got the “behavior is communication” piece, and adult behavior towards me was never patient or kind in my first years of school. Nobody bothered to figure out how we’d so often arrive at the precipice of having no other way to manage me than lock me away in the “naughty closet.” They communicated loudly through their cruel behavior towards me, that I was nothing, and I carried that with me for many years, and still struggle with it.
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