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Asperger’s Student Put In Plywood Box

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The†American Association of School Administrators (AASA) opposes federal legislation, saying that individual states should be allowed to create their own†policies — though the association does say that the federal government should pay for training.

One point brought up by the AASA that needs to be carefully considered is to keep in mind “injuries to teachers and other school employees that are serious enough to merit workers’ compensation claims and sick leave,” when restraining a child, or in teaching a child. As a parent whose child experienced the inappropriate use of restraints in previous school districts, I am well are of the need for appropriate and extensive training about the use of restraints and seclusion, for supervision and support of staff for proper documentation and for immediate communication about any such incidents to parents.

Mandy Rennhack’s account of her son being placed in the box/quiet room suggests the anguish parents feel when restraints and seclusion are misused, to say nothing about the suffering and trauma a child (and especially a child with disabilities) experiences. The Department of Education must ensure that states and school districts are held accountable when restraints and seclusion are used.

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Restraints & Seclusion: Thatís Not Education

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54 comments

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9:19PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Autism runs in my family. My father is autistic. He is now in his nineties. He has two nephews who are autistic. There are other family members who have this condition.

Actually being in a quiet place is very therapeutic to an autistic person. Especially when they are over stimulated by out side stimuli such as noise, lights, crowds, a lot of activity going on etc. You see the autistic including Asperger’s process outside stimuli such as sound differently than we do. Those of us who do not have this condition may not understand that.

Actually the boy may have preferred to be there in the box like room because he found it more soothing than listening to the teacher's questions etc.

My father lives in a nursing home now. He has a room to himself and often retreats to it to be alone because the stimulation of daily life can be overwhelming to him. (By the way, my father has an IQ of over 150)

Also when he gets overwhelmed my father likes to wrap himself in blankets

Temple Grandin is a famous animal behaviorist that also is autistic. She is a college professor. She can gives a lot of information about the condition on her website: http://templegrandin.com/

9:36AM PDT on May 27, 2012

I have some questions, but before I ask them, please don't think that I approve of what the teacher did, because I don't. Placing any child, regular or exceptional in another room all alone is totally unacceptable. Placing any child, regular or exceptional in a wooden box alone or with a teacher's assistant is unforgivable.

I would like to know if the student was in an elementary or secondary school. Was he in a regular or exceptional education classroom? Was there a teacher's assistant present who could have sat & talked quietly with the boy/young man until he calmed down?

I asked if the student was in an elementary or secondary school because, at least here where I live in Florida, disruptive students are handled differently in elementary & secondary schools. In the elementary schools, a student who is having a bad day or being disruptive is normally sent to a different part of the classroom where he/she can sit without anyone bothering them, until they feel ready to rejoin their classroom. In the secondary schools, disruptive students are sent out of the classroom to stand in the hallway by the classroom door, or they are given a discipline referral & sent to the Dean's office. In the case of an exceptional education student, he/she should not be sent out of the room without a teacher's assistant. I asked if he was in a regular or exceptional education classroom because exceptional education teachers, especially those who work with autistic students, are

9:30AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Maybe the school admins should be placed in the plywood box!

9:24PM PDT on May 20, 2012

I feel sorry for the child and his parents - this is the result of poor training of the educators and support personnel and all the budget cuts that reduced the number of classroom aides.

I know what the risk is for them, my mom had her knee torn up when one of the kids in the class she supported flailed in her direction. Surgery & therapy....but that is no excuse for the mistreatment of this boy OR any other!

11:52AM PDT on May 20, 2012

Maureen L...... I am the mother, and I HAVE discussed the sensory issue with them. They DID NOT give him his blanket that was there or his pillow pet etc. Besides that I told them he was NOT to be placed in this box. I don't agree with it, I agree with a proper place for him to go to.... a quiet room can be seen on SUSAN STOKES website, it is a small "cubical" with a sheet over the top and blankets on the inside, like a fort, that is PROPER, not a box. And I would like to add a weight jacket is not something my son likes, he likes blankets placed on him and over his head. Autistic children are all different....
And I would like to thank all my son supporters.
Ty's mom

4:54PM PDT on May 19, 2012

Not all children with aspergers are difficult to handle nor disruptive. Some are very very introverted, but almost all are extremely intelligent. So what if the kid doesn't want to play with others? Not all "normal" kids do either.

There is no excuse for this kind of treatment. If the teachers or the administration can't or won't deal with it properly they need to step down and never ever be in the position to dictate procedures for special needs or "normal" children again. They've demonstrated that they're beyond redemption...and if by some chance they are....it will take a long time before they'll be trusted again by anybody to put their children in their care.

9:43AM PDT on May 19, 2012

We trust teachers to develop and encourage our children - what happened at this school is hardly going to achieve anything useful. If those working at this school cannot cope with those in their care then maybe it is about time they looked for different jobs - as prison warders maybe!

3:55AM PDT on May 19, 2012

apparently this school shares the common misconception that aspergers (and other mental illnesses i dare say) are a choice.
seems banishment to a wooden box is cheaper than educating teachers and providing adequate supports and aides - well, cheaper in the short term.

10:09PM PDT on May 18, 2012

I can see the value of using a quiet space to help a child calm down, but more patience and effort should have been used to coax him out when he had calmed down to explain that he wasn't being punished.

9:55PM PDT on May 18, 2012

UTTERLY RIDICULOUS, cruel and inhuman. I cannot imagine how such treatment will help a child. Further, it would seem to me this is grounds for a Child Endangerment suit. Lastly, I believe it is Wisconsin's governor who is partially to blame for this as he has drastically cut among other items school budget perhaps allowing less than competent as well as mentally unfit teachers to be hired at lesser salaries.

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