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(Canada) Call for national conversation on the use of isolation rooms in schools

Nov 4, 2018, Troy Media: Put an end to the use of seclusion rooms for children We need a national conversation about how Canadian schools can better deal with issues that lead to the use of such rooms. I’ve often wondered why there’s very little public outcry when the media reports on the cruel use of seclusion rooms for kids with developmental disabilities and delays in schools across Canada. … … Twelve years ago, when my son was born, I remember someone making a half-hearted attempt at reassurance after we were told he has multiple physical and cognitive diagnoses: “Well, this all will come easy to you. You’re really good at all things disability related!” … It would be difficult for anyone to fully understand the lives of families like mine given the mixed bag of (mis) information out there. So maybe this is why the use of seclusion rooms in Canadian schools never seems to get the attention it deserves. Seclusion rooms are separate spaces used to physically isolate a child in emotional distress. … One challenging reality for some kids with developmental disabilities is that there are often triggers that cause a child to physically lash out or ‘melt down.’ There are many reasons for this to happen, such as an inability to communicate, sensory overload or social challenges. So what else can be done in place of seclusion rooms when this happens?... A modern understanding of disability through research informs how to effectively deescalate these isolated ‘melt down’ moments, seeking solutions that ensure everyone involved remains safe. Forcefully locking a child in a closet doesn’t come close to making the list. … Alberta is moving in the right direction by convening a working group of parents, advocates, specialists and teachers to set new guidelines when isolating students with behavioural issues. It’s a first step anyway. But it’s time for a national conversation on the use of seclusion rooms in Canadian schools. …

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