Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Advocates Press Congress to Act on Restraints, Seclusion

A coalition of advocates for people with disabilities offered more criticism of a recent report by the American Association of School Administrators that touted the merits and necessity of using restraints and seclusion.

On Monday, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities picked apart the AASA report, which came on the heels of the first ever attempt to collect data on the frequency with which public school students are restrained or isolated in the name of keeping themselves or others safe. AASA's report was based in part on a survey of its members, but as CCD points out, there isn't any information about the survey or its methodology.

"With no source cited, the AASA simply asserts that 99 percent of school personnel use seclusion and restraint safely and only when needed. This assertion is not supported by any facts," the Consortium wrote.

The group also attacked AASA for claiming that school staff members are well trained regarding the appropriate methods of restraining or secluding students.

"The survey does not distinguish between staff who receive a few hours of instruction and those who complete rigorous training and certification programs," the letter says. "In fact, poorly trained or untrained staff were involved in several deaths and injuries reported by the [Government Accountability Office} and others. Only seven states mandate training in medical distress and first-aid, and only 18 states in safe and appropriate restraint/seclusion use (often without further definition of what this means)."

The Congressional bills will require training in evidence-based techniques and the dangers of seclusion and restraint, and provide needed funds for training personnel."

Read more of Nirvi Shah's On Special Education article HERE.
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