So there I was, roaming facebook when a jumble of words caught my eye and turned my stomach... the gist of it was stop the use of restraints in schools. When I think restraints, I think medications, the seat belt on a stroller, locked doors, baby gates, walking harnesses, gait belts, hand holding... all very important parts of our life. Restraints are a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits.
But you're not talking about everyday restraints, you're talking about physical take downs, time out in padded rooms, being wrapped in blankets, etc, according to the person I talked to but I have to ask... what if they are legit?
Alex is not mainstreamed, he goes to a special school. a separate school that I did everything I could to get him into because mainstreaming was not in his best interest. The trade off is the type of kids he's around. Now, I don't mean that in any way other than the straight facts so don't get your panties in a wad. He's with other kids like him and other kids not quite like him. Developmentally delayed, severe special needs, emotionally disturbed... The thing that they have in common is for some reason or another, the general education setting was not in their best interest or the best interest of the students around them.
Last year Alex was attacked by a teenager in the hallway, the bite marks he came home with would break your heart and make you cry. There was no way to prevent it. It happened quickly, it was a reaction. The teen was wearing noise cancelling headphones, Alex reached up and yanked them off, the boy reacted. Our kids do sometimes have violent episodes. Usually as a reaction, not an action. I stand beside the statement that there is no connection whatsoever between autism and planned violence but violence does happen in the heat of the moment. If they didn't have a Behavior Intervention Plan in place with a section on safe physical restraint, how much worse would Alex's injuries have been?
I am here writing this at 12:45am, not because Alex has me awake with his stimmy little self but because after seeing a 2nd plea in as many days to stop the use of restraints in school, I woke up dreaming about his screams and I can't help but cry. Can you imagine the sight of a 9 year old being attacked by a 9th, 10th, 11th grader? I saw his body when he came home. I saw the places the boy's teeth broke the skin, I saw the swelling for days afterward, I saw the effect on Alex. I can only imagine the horror of the attack. I can only be thankful that the school staff had tools at their disposal to stop it and to remove him and the teen from the situation.
Advocate for better training in the use of restraints but, please, don't scream and shout and protest for them to keep your children safe and then take away the only tools they have to do so.