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(Ireland) Special needs parents want Dept of Ed to look into use of restraint and seclusion

June 26, 2018, Ireland, RTE: Call for department to track use of restraints on children with special needs A body representing the parents of children with special needs has called on the Department of Education to track and collate evidence on the use of restraints and isolation practices for children with special needs in schools. Lorraine Dempsey of the Special Needs Parents Association told an oireachtas committee this evening the country was "one step away from the death of a child" due to the use of inappropriate methods of restraint by adult staff on children in schools. Ms Dempsey was referring to the use of physical restraint methods such as one called prone restraint, when a person is held face down. Speaking to RTÉ News after her address to the committee she said, if done incorrectly, this could potentially suffocate a child. She also criticised the practice of isolating children in rooms or other areas. Ms Dempsey said the organisation was very concerned that these practices may be going on. "It is definitely something that should not be allowed," she said. However she criticised the fact that no data was being collected on the use of isolation rooms or spaces, or on the use of physical restraint. "There’s children locked in cupboards", she said, and she said children were being traumatised by such practices.… Speaking at an education committee hearing on the issue of special education provision in mainstream schools, Ms Dempsey criticised the insufficient number of educational psychologists nationally as well as major shortages of therapists to support children. The SNPA says waiting lists for provision of services continue to rise and can have a detrimental impact on children’s developmental potential, and for the school staff who need guidance and support…. The National Council for Special Education told the committee that by this coming September there would be 1,454 special classes in operation in mainstream schools. CEO Teresa Griffin said 27% were in post-primary schools, and 82% were for students with ASD…. Mr Harris said support should be provided to help schools to change their cultures and become more inclusive, and that there should be mandatory training in autism for all teachers and SNAs.

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