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.
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.
The story that follows is an email that Alexander J. Campbell wrote and sent regarding the restraint and seclusion policy being proposed in Powhatan, Virginia. I hope this email finds you well. I am writing this tonight with grave concern and fear regarding the future of our school system. The truth is when I originally … Continue reading A letter regarding Powhatan, Virginia’s restraint and seclusion policy
Today’s guest author is Greg Santucci. Greg is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and founder of Power Play Pediatric Therapy. A Graduate of Penn State (BS, Exercise and Sport Science) and Thomas Jefferson University (MS, Occupational Therapy), prior to opening Power Play in 2006, Greg was the Director of two large pediatric practices in New Jersey. He is certified in Sensory Integration and has been helping children and their families, both in private practice and in the public schools, since 1999. Dedicated to best practice, Greg presents workshops nationally on topics related to sensory processing, challenging behaviors, and improving school-based therapy services.
Andy stood stone cold still and looked around; then he started to ask me questions. “Miss Claudia, what’s this?” “What’s this? What’s this used for? Can you show me this book? Look how far we can see!”, he exclaimed as he stood looking out over the Port of Los Angeles with its huge cargo cranes and enormous ships stacked tall with “cans” of products bound for other countries.
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.
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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