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 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.
Is your child being restrained or locked in a room at school? A plea to New Brunswick’s Candidates – 2020 Election
In an era where global protests continue as a result of the inhumane treatment that led to the death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Police, similar Restraints, and Seclusions that equate to solitary confinement, continue to happen to children in schools in New Brunswick. Restraint and Seclusion room practices against even our most vulnerable children, are supported by some Districts under the current Minister of Education, who has personally told me that he doesn’t have the power to put an end to this.
Today John will share some of his thoughts on the book The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz.
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!)
My experience with the special needs community started with volunteer work when I was sixteen. I started working for a company that helped special needs children and their families deal with the difficulties of navigating the school system. I left that work for a while, and as it turns out my path led me to law school and then to be a stay home mom. Both of my children are neurotypical, so my perspective is not as a parent, but I genuinely seek to elevate the voices of the parents and children in this amazing community.
I’ve considered our parenting style “middle of the road” since our two children were born. We read “What to Expect when you’re Expecting,” sleep books, toddler books, and so on. We never spanked. We sent kids to their rooms for timeouts, created behavior charts, and counted to three. We used “grandma’s rule” – you can have screen time after you pick up your toys, for example. We were consistent in our parenting – following through on consequences and rewards. We played with our children – giving each child quality time and attention. We weren’t perfect, but we were doing our best.
Being an advocate is not just my career. From the day we brought our daughter home, I have fought for her. You see, my daughter is on the Autism Spectrum with severe anxiety. This journey hasn’t been an easy one. Before she was diagnosed it was a constant battle getting doctors to hear me when I said she was on the spectrum, most wouldn’t listen because she was a girl. Even after her diagnosis, it like an all-out war just to get my daughter the correct supports she desperately needed in school.
I drove my 5th-grade son, Caleb, up to a historic brick building on a brisk, sunny March morning. I told Caleb that this was the first school built in the district, and promised to look up the year it was built after the tour if the school director didn’t know.
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