I'm on an email list that consists mostly of parents of children with Fragile X, and I can't stress enough how informative it's been. It's been heart-wrenching at times as well, since we all share our bad times right along with the good.
Anyway, this past Sunday, one of the emails contained a link to a blog that lists school in the US, alphabetically by state, that have been cited for using abusive restraint practices. Here it is:
Notice how insanely long the Minnesota list is. Notice too that Sky Oaks, the school Zack & AJ might attend, is on the list. I tried not to panic and sent the email immediately to the boys' teacher, Sarah, who is such a great and caring advocate. I love her, whatever they are paying her, it's not enough. She responded almost immediately on Sunday night (did I mention how devoted and tireless she is) and said that it seemed to her they had listed all the schools in MN that have a seclusion room, whether it is used or not. They didn't cite specific abuse allegations, just listed that these schools do in fact have a seclusion room. Sarah said that that while it's true that Sky Oaks has a seclusion room, they don't use it -- they know that seclusion and "time outs" don't work with our kids with autism.
Which did make me feel better, although clearly I've got to investigate this further. Because I know my boys can get aggressive, and I know they don't mean to hurt anyone but Zack will bite someone who makes him nervous or upset. And almost everyone he doesn't know makes him nervous and upset! I have seen how our ABA therapists deal with the boys' attempts to bite; they just turn away, basically they seclude themselves as much as they can. Because any response at all to that kind of behavior is the incorrect one. You just have to ignore it as much as possible. I'd hate for Zack to scream and try to bite someone at kindergarten next year and end up restrained or in a seclusion room, alone. I'll have to ask Sarah again when I might find out exactly which school the boys will attend so I can start asking questions about their restraint and seclusion policies.
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