Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Restraint & Seclusion "Scream Rooms"... The National Disgrace in Special Education

  1. #1
    Community Member Prot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Restraint & Seclusion "Scream Rooms"... The National Disgrace in Special Education

    A urine soaked scream room. A child stuffed in a duffel bag. Vinegar soaked cotton balls put in a child's mouth. Slapped on the head with plastic bottles. Child dragged through a playground across asphalt with pants down. Shoved to the floor and dead from asphyxiation. Handcuffed and duct-taped. Degraded. Dehumanized. Traumatized. Mob stories? No, it is just a scratch of the surface of what has happened to children in special education in the past year. Not in a third world country, but here in America.

    Today, as I write, children with autism are regularly and legally restrained and secluded against their will. Most states have little to no laws regarding seclusion and restraint. What is even worse is the fact that seclusion, restraint and aversives have been proven to be an ineffective way to modify behavior, but they are still used in education. In fact, it actually increases behavior in many children, and has the potential to cause physical and long lasting trauma to a child (Jones & Timbers, 2002; Magee & Ellis, 2001; Natta, Holmbeck, Kupst, Pines & Schulman, 1990) (1)(2)(3).

    For over a decade, the United States Health & Human Services Department's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recognized that seclusion and restraint are traumatic NOT therapeutic(4). Mental health experts have developed tools and protocols that have successfully helped many mental health facilities and schools significantly reduce seclusion and restraints.

    Educating, Debating & Legislating...A Slow Process

    While America's special needs children are traumatized at school, sometimes physically injured to the point of death, legislators still debate whether or not to support a federal law to keep all children safe. Some debate whether to support a "federal" law because they are "pro-states rights". Yet, disabled children can't wait around for individual states to "do the right thing" and pass similar laws. If states were capable of doing the right thing, they would have already done it. Other legislators listen to the lobbyists who demand they "need" to use seclusion and restraint even though these methods are not evidence based or therapeutic. And while both Senator Harkin and Representative Miller have introduced the Keeping All Children Safe Act, S.2020 and H.R.1381 respectively, which would help protect children from the abuse of seclusion and restraint, the legislation still needs cosponsors and more "debate" is expected.

    And while this debate continues, the fact is that the only way to help every American child is to pass a federal law. Senate Bill 2020 would prohibit schools from using seclusion and aversives. It would also prohibit restraint from being written into IEPs. Restraint could only be used in an emergency and as a last resort (i.e. child about to hurt self or others).
    Yet inside there is this perpetual nagging doubt;
    the feeling we are possessed by a 'subtle lack of togetherness''.

  2. The following user says "thanks"

  3. #2


    Not defending abuses, but restraint isn't automatically abusive and is sometimes necessary. You can't have kids, autistic or not, injuring themselves or others or destroying property. When these behaviors occur, you have to intervene. The point of restraint is protection.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Community Member Jo6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    South Carolina


    Prot, thank you for posting this. So many people have no idea how to act or how to treat Autistic children. I'm talking about family here too. I have a great newphew that is Autistic . I read a conversation on another web site from his mother one day. I didn't get the question, but his mother replied, yes, Ben likes to be talked to, loved, hugs and attention just like "normal" children. To me that said a lot!
    I have been around him at some very stressful times and I was very impressed at his restraint from totally falling apart. His Papa had died and during the funeral he was a little outward nervous, but hey, so was I. It was my big brother and I dearly loved him. It was hard for me not to brust out crying outloud.

    After the service he did kind of fall apart, but his loving Mother was able to work with him and I don't think many people even noticed.

    His Mom quit her job when he was a baby and went to a special school to help her learn all she could in how to care for an Autistic child as they grow up.

    I think the public needs to learn all they can do to treat these children in the ways that they need to be treated. As my neice said, they like to be loved, just like everybody else does.
    Yes, we do need some Federal laws on things like this.

    take care, Jo
    Last edited by Jo6; 03-14-2012 at 07:31 AM.
    Did you ever know that you're my hero and every thing I would like to be I can fly higher than an eagle
    'cause you are the wind beneath my wings

    for my brother Ben

  5. #4
    Distinguished Community Member houghchrst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Blog Entries


    Thanks Prot, great to see ya, miss ya when you aren't here giving us all kinds of good info.

    Callie yes I agree, safety restraint I have no issue with but when your children are in school or with ignorant relatives I think that sometimes it is easier to restrain them than becoming educated and learning how to interact and accomadate them. I wonder what the rate of abuse is involving autistic children over our 'normal' children. I am sure there are probably thousands that go unreported just like non autistic household but I have heard bystanders who don't understand autism or any disability in a friend or family member's home testify about abuses in households where they were told they had to lock 'johnny' in his room 24/7 for safety reasons for other some such crap or schools doing horrible things to acting out children because they themselves are uneducated about how to handle troubled or other abled children.

    Jo yeah there definitely needs to be something done on the federal level. I also think that Child Protective Services needs to be more diligent in their monitoring of homes that have other abled children in them.

    It really is sad that the government is wasting all the money that can be better used to help educate and provide much needed services.

  6. #5


    I have never been to sure what to think about all this. I know it happens, but really how common are restraints being used?
    My memories of special education were not that bad, but I cant say they were all good! I am 27 now, so maybe things have really changed since I was a kid? I remember kids being restrained, and I spent a lot of time sitting by myself in rooms, but it was never torture (thankfully!!!)
    It was more common for the teachers to be afraid of the kids that were out of control, then to try to restrain them, and risk getting bit or hurt. Kids that were out of control, were sent to sit in a room by themself till they were able to calm down, etc. Sometimes you were made to sit quiet for so long as punishment. There were times while being "secluded" that I was not allowed to leave the room to use the restroom (that more then once resulted in a puddle).
    I just dont remember the whole "restraints/seclusion" being something that happened to often, and defently not to the extent of torture. What happened over the years to start all this?

  7. #6


    I think it's rare, but when incidents do occur, it gets broadcast all over the world. Everyone's got a cellphone camera now, everyone knows how to upload to youtube and use social media to rally their causes.

  8. #7
    Distinguished Community Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default poor treatment

    Don't even get me started. The way I was treated was a horror story. Don't Ask but pray for the cuildren

Similar Threads

  1. New Board is "AWESOME" and Great to See People I Recognize
    By NeuroNixed Craig in forum Multiple Sclerosis
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-21-2011, 09:12 AM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-14-2011, 04:15 AM
  3. "Fur Babies"--photos of members' pets
    By agate in forum Multiple Sclerosis
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-17-2011, 04:47 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

BTC Inc's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

The material on this site is for information & support purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice provided by a licensed health care provider. Always consult your doctor before trying anything that you find online.