Use of Physical Restraints on Special Education Children has to
by Jeffrey M.
Williams, Parental Guardian of Illinois: Watchdog publication
reporting on special education issues within Illinois.
For more articles like this
I made a phone call the other day to Jake's school to state my
position on restraining my son. He is hands off! No questions!
This is a comment I would have never thought I have to make and,
frankly shouldn’t have to make. In light of the injuries to the
boy in Peru (this happened in Illinois, not South America) and
the recent death of an Autistic child in Michigan and Milwaukee;
I felt compelled to make the statement. And while the child in
Milwaukee died from the ignorance of his caretakers, it does
illustrate what can happen when untrained people attempt
dangerous maneuvers on misunderstood participants.
Staggeringly, the Autism National Committee reports between 50
and 150 children die each year during or immediately after a
Any child who could be the receiver of physical force by a
school district had better have a behavioral modification plan
in place to augment the IEP and provide a blueprint of steps to
follow before a takedown is to occur.
This would outline redirection and environmental awareness steps
teachers should focus on before the situation goes physical.
Additionally, this provides the parents with assurances that
teachers and aides are properly trained in Crisis Prevention and
Intervention or physical restraints. The State of Illinois
mandates all school personnel who might be in a position to
deliver a physical restraint be certified. This means if the
school district informs a parent this might happen, asks the
parent to sign a waver on its use, or includes the possibility
during the discussions then those teachers should have the
What’s important to note about certifications is not the act of
learning how to apply basket hold itself, it’s the intensive
training leading up to the use of forces. Most training programs
are ¾ de-escalation and ¼ physical restraint. This will provide
teachers with the tools to avert the need to use force.
It is indescribable to express my discontent for a system
focusing on blanket restraints instead of root problems. I can
just picture the scene down in Peru on that fall day. The child
with Downs playing at recess but it is time to go back inside.
The teacher, laying down demands to him, like she did to all her
students, but this is not the other students.
I can see Jacob, my son, stubbornly refusing to go back inside.
Jacob responds well to redirection. Combined with a little
reward system on the side, he is putty in your hands. However,
he does not respond to verbal commands.
Would one of his non-disabled peers get in trouble for
insubordinate behavior? Of course but they do not operate under
an IEP. Should Jacob require the ‘basket hold’ to circumvent him
from potentially injuring himself or other students when he
stomps his feet, better not.
The use of take down techniques and physical restraints on
mentally impaired children has to end. These actions were
developed to protect children from injury to self and others
however it has been used increasingly as a forced compliance
method for children whom display insubordinate actions.
back to the top ~
back to Breaking News
~ back to