Nov 11, 2018, Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel and Enterprise: Restraint use high in three districts http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_32264863/restraint-use-high-three-districts Last year, schools in Lowell, Billerica and Fitchburg saw the highest number of students restrained by staff among public school districts in northern Middlesex and Worcester counties, according to state education data released in September. … In January 2016, the state began requiring school districts to collect and file annual restraint data with DESE. … Local reports State data for the 2017-18 school year show that among the region's most frequent users of the restraint practice are three schools run by Lowell Public Schools: Leblanc Therapeutic Day School, Laura Lee Therapeutic Day School and the Lowell Day School on Broadway. Each school, which caters to students with special needs, saw staff perform restraints on between 22 percent and 30 percent of its population. …________________________________________ Statewide, there were 4,889 students restrained a total of 38,994 times last school year. This represents almost 3,000 fewer restraints from the 2016-17 school year, the first year data was collected, though the number of students restrained increased by about 11 percent year over year. … According to Connelly, nationwide "restraint" can refer to a number of techniques. It can involve the full body, like a prone restraint, which has been linked to suffocation. The prone restraint is banned in Massachusetts except in specific situations, depending on the student's behavioral and medical history. Parents or guardians must also give consent in advanced of the employment of this type of restraint, according to the new law. In other cases, Connelly said a "hand over hand" restraint is used. "If they're hitting their head with their hand, holding their hand could be a restraint," he said. … Restraints and special education programs are often closely linked. Schools with high numbers of restraints tend to be those that serve students with special needs, a trend which has caused outcry among groups like the Disability Law Center. "While DLC understands some student populations, due to disabilities, are prone to repeated self-injurious and/or aggressive behaviors this does not negate the schools' responsibility to only use restraint as a matter of last resort and does not minimize its obligation to work diligently to find less intrusive and less dangerous interventions," according to a release from the group published in February. … "Students within these programs may need/receive additional support to help regulate themselves physically and emotionally," she wrote in an email. They're more likely to have a history of trauma or involvement with government services like the Department of Children and Families, she wrote. … Because restraints are tied to the student's difficulty regulating themselves, a majority of restraints happen in lower grade levels, according to Demanche…. If a student has ongoing behavioral issues, the district can develop a behavioral plan and work with the district's three certified behavioral analysts. …
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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