Eliminating Restraints and Seclusion Improves Outcomes for Injuries/Trauma, Expenditures, and Student Goal Mastery

Photo: Nancy Marie Davis | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: sepia-tone print of a clenched fist, with superimposed scratched lines.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com A little over two years ago, Crystal Garrett wrote an article for Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism about the long-term traumatic effects on her Autistic son of the restraints and seclusion used against him at school. Garrett chose to end her career as a journalist to stay at home and school Zachary herself. Garrett wrote, “We know a restraint and seclusion free environment is realistic. Virginia-based Grafton Integrated Health Network, an organization that works with children and adults with autism and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, went restraint and seclusion free ten years ago. Since then, their client and staff injury rate has dramatically gone down, while employee satisfaction has increased. They are now teaching their system, Ukeru, to others across the country, in order to create a trauma-informed…

A dilapidated interior hallway of a former state hospital.

What Makes Institutions Bad

The worst part of institutions is not physical violence, obvious forms of abuse or neglect. It’s not even the experiences you don’t get to have. It’s the damage that is done right down to your soul, by living under the power of other human beings. Glamour makes no difference. Prettiness makes no difference. Size makes no difference.


We Must Eliminate Restraint and Seclusion in Schools: Zachary’s Story

Crystal Garrett Snoopy Souce: www.peanuts.com [image: the cartoon dog Snoopy, doing the “Snoopy Dance.”] Zachary’s laughter has been called infectious. One specialist even opined it sounded much like Charles Schultz’s famous character, Snoopy. Those breath-taking sounds of pure joy that burst forth from deep inside his belly are a special treat these days. Zachary doesn’t laugh much anymore. There’s a reason my six-year-old’s giggles have been replaced by meltdowns. And his story deserves to be told because he is not alone: There are many traumatized autistic children just like him—their stories must be heard, too. And if we have any compassion, we must listen to them. This is Zachary’s story. It was only the third day of first grade — Aug. 26, 2015 — that my child was involuntarily committed to a hospital more than two hours from my home. Zachary had not been properly diagnosed yet, but we would…