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I feel ashamed and disgusted after reading this.
I was afraid to read your article because I knew that I would not be happy with what I would read. I'm not saying that I'm surprised because I'm not. I have been fighting the restraint and seclusion battle since my son was 12 years old and we have made some progress all through the states but there is so much more that is needed. The horrors of restraint and seclusion in the public school system only seems to grow worse in group homes and state run programs for our children as they grow older and out of the school system. My son is now 19 years old and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about what will happen to him as he ages out of school. We have 2 1/2 years left in the school system and I don't see anything in Florida for adults with autism in the way of fun activities, jobs or places to live. I went to visit a work program a few weeks ago and left crying. Even thinking about it now makes me want to cry. Who will help him, understand him and love him the way we do? I know that it's time for me to move on from R & S and start advocating for living and work programs for our children who are so close to becoming adults. It's a scary thought because this world is not prepared for our children to grow up and neither am I. Our children are "America's forgotten children." It's time for us to change this so our children have a chance to grow up in programs that will offer them support and safe places to live and work. Regards, Phyllis Families Against Restraint and Seclusion
We are not trying to get rid of all restraint use. We are trying to get rid of prone/supine and seclusion rooms. Why? because they are physically and mentally damaging to many children with special needs and just not necessary. There are many kinds of holds that can be used but school staff always go right to prone. My school district is prone restraining children in pre-k. That's children 3 and 4 years old. For those of you that are not happy with teaching these children and think that they should be in some kind of boot camp or restraint use is the only way to handle "these kids." Why don't you look for another job? These children did not ask to be borne like this and they are not lashing out because they are bad children. Many of the children cannot speak and become very frustrated because "you" the teacher do not understand what they are trying to tell you. Think of how frustrated they must feel when no one understands them. For many of these children behavior becomes a way of communication. When the children use behaviors to communicate, they get restrained, the behaviors escalate, they get restrained again and longer, the behaviors escalate more and on and on and on. In some cases you can break the child so when you are done with him he will become a child like mine that was restrained for 2 years without our knowledge and we were left with the broken pieces of a child that is now afraid to go to school, has regressed in all areas, is depressed and lost interest in life. Restraint and seclusion should no longer be viewed as treatment options but rather as treatment failures because they risk lives, escalate behaviors and inflict emotional and physical trauma.
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