Issues of Concern

Restraint and Seclusion

One of the ongoing issues of concern being discussed across the U.S. these days is about the policies and procedures in place in schools and programs for persons with disabilities related to restraint, seclusion and aversive treatments. The Government Accountability Office (2009) reported more than 33,000 incidents of restraint or seclusion in 2009-2010 in schools in Texas and California, two of only six states that tracked such data at that time. Nineteen states had no regulations at that time regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. As a result of serious misuse of these “so-called educational“ procedures, advocates around the country, and world have been working to enact clearer policies and regulations for the use of these types of procedures IF they are needed for individuals with more severe behavior disorders. The following resources, initiatives and actions are examples of the work underway.

Here is a short list of the terms being used by advocates in this area along with suggested Resources.

Restraint is the use of physical force (i.e. person(s) holding a child against a surface, a mechanical device, straps, or chemicals (tranquilizers)) used to immobilize a child and prevent freedom of movement.

Seclusion refers to the involuntary confinement of a child alone in a room or isolated in an area from which the child is prevented from leaving. It may include having a door locked or blocked in an area away from peers and caregivers for a period of time with no access to social interactions.

Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) refers to a set of research-based strategies that are intended to increase quality of life and decrease problem behaviors by designing effective environments and teaching children appropriate social and communication skills. A Positive Behavioral Support Plan is written for individuals with significant behavioral problems to help address prevention and early intervention and introduce new skills that can replace problem behaviors.

Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) are completed for children who demonstrate problematic, aggressive or self-injurious behaviors in order gain an understanding of the challenging behavior and determine the communicative intent behind the behaviors. These can be found in a child's IEP.

GO TO Suggested Resources