Monday, August 2, 2010

Seclusion and Restraints Big Topic at Conferences

Seal of the United States Senate.Image via Wikipedia

This week, I am at the Utah Institute on Special Education Law. Seclusion and Restraints continues to be the hottest of hot button issues in special education law. Two speakers have mentioned the issue so far.

The post yesterday discussed the controversy over whether the new federal law should prohibit IEP teams from including seclusion and restraints.

The House and Senate bills define physical restraints as "a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of an individual to move his or her arms, legs or head freely." The bills define seclusion as "a behavior control technique involving locked isolation." Seclusion does not include "time outs."

Both speakers emphasized that there will be a renewed emphasis on positive behavior interventions and restraints. This is consistent with the answer to my question by Dr. Alexa Posny, the new Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Look for the reauthorization of IDEA to include enhanced and more specific directions for IEP teams concerning behavior techniques and interventions. In addition, HR 5628, the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act, also emphasizes the need for positive behavior interventions. Look for more PBIS mandates soon.

One speaker predicted a huge increase in IDEA hearings and court appeals involving behavior issues, especially concerning seclusion and restraints. The awareness of this issue is likely to cause such a result as we have previously predicted in this blog.

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