Friday, April 29, 2011

Panel on Seclusion and Restraints at CEC Conference

Seal of the United States Senate.Image via Wikipedia
The CEC annual conference at the amazing National Harbor continues.  An excellent panel on the hot button issue of seclusion and restraints discussed the hot button issue.

We have frequently discussed seclusion and restraints here at the special education law blog.  It continues to be the most controversial topic in special education law.  In the last few years the topic has been is the news. After a series of exposes revealing the heart stopping sad stories of kids with disabilities who died as a result of these techniques.  The outcry was strong.

Congress held hearings.  A bill was introduced and passed the House of Representatives.  It is, however, stuck in the Senate.  The panel revealed that the sticking point in the Senate involves whether there should be a prohibition on allowing IEPs to prohibit seclusion and restraints.  Some parent groups want the prohibition.  The school districts seem to oppose it,  The stalemate is holding up the legislation.  When asked about compromise, none of the panelists had any ideas.
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  1. I think parents should be able to request no physical restraints, in fact I think that IF the school wants to do physical restraints or seclusion than a permission needs to be signed. I'm not sure that the IEP is the place for it though since all behavior problems are not special needs, unless the behavior is directly related to a dx. If for some reason the school believes that they need to have the option for restraints and seclusion (I'm assuming you mean locked door?)and do not have permission then they have a number of strategies they can consider (determining that the behavior is interfering with ed enough that they can't provide ed for ex).
    hmmmmm....I don't like the idea of seclusion and restraint attached to spec ed I guess.

  2. Need an idea? Here’s one: Non-Exclusion Timeout and Exclusion Timeout lies within a continuum of behavioral interventions, which could be detailed in a "Positive Behavior Support Plan" specific to a student. Isolated timeout and physical restraint are emergency interventions and should only be used when less restrictive interventions have not been successful. These emergency interventions could be detailed in an "Emergency Behavior Intervention Plan." There would be only two versions of an "Emergency Behavior Intervention Plan" for a student:

    Version 1: When an individual student presents with dangerous behaviors and for the purpose of maintaining safety of that student and others, trained staff would follow an "Emergency Behavior Intervention Plan" written for that individual student. This would be supported by the foundation of clear language and policies, a positive behavior support plan, and specific ways to manage the specific child in times of behavioral emergencies. Written, if possible, with the input and support of the student and parents. This is separate from an IEP. But as a PBSP is referred to in an IEP, so should an EBIP be referred to in an IEP.

    Version2: When any student presents with dangerous behaviors that the school did not anticipate, and for the purpose of maintaining safety of the student and others, trained staff would follow the school's "Emergency Behavior Intervention Plan." This would be supported by the foundation of clear language and policies that applies to ALL students, parents and staff. This plan could be made aware to ALL staff, students and parents via code of conduct, school website, crisis or emergency procedures document, training opportunities and/or the student handbook.

    Both plans would be written within the required guidelines which will hopefully include the amended “Keeping All Students Safe Act”. This plan would protect ALL student's. This plan takes restraint and seclusion out the educational lane and into the behavioral lane. These two lanes have crossed, blurring the lines, making the most vulnerable students, more vulnerable.

    As a parent, I would prefer this was referred to in our child's IEP because of the safety nets and guidelines that would be in place.

    This Mom's humble opinion.

  3. Near the end of this school year we discovered our 16 year old son with Down Syndrome was being secluded for 1 -3 periods per day in the nurse's office with his aide. He is very well behaved, quiet and compliant. He was being pulled from History class and sometimes Science class, which he loved and was making A's and B's. He was also pulled from a study hall, and sometimes his Vocational Training Skills class. He watched video clips, played computer games, and talked to his aide's mother on the phone while in the nurses office. There is more to our story, and it is all disgusting and very sad!

    1. Hi,
      Wow, what a sad story. This having been posted several years ago. What became of your story?

  4. Thanks SL, MinM, and Anon,

    We appreciate your comments.