|Action||Promulgating new regulation governing seclusion & restraint in public elementary & secondary schools|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/19/2019|
Comments on restraint and seclusion.
As an educator and a BCBA, I do understand the need for regulatory action. However, there must be considerations for individuals with severe disabilities.
Currently it is the practice of my staff to debrief after every 3 restraints. We look at patterns with triggers/setting events, precursor behaviors, and possible antecendent strategies to minimize the likelihood of another incident. We also review whether or not procedures were followed and if any other changes need to be made to ensure the safety of all involved. The proposed regulations are not very different from our current practice in regards to the debriefing.
I do take issue with teams being required to hold IEP meetings after two restraints. Unfortunately, I have a handful of students that engage in severe behaviors that that pose imminent danger to themselves or others. In these situations, we use the least restrictive interventions required to maintain safety. We attempt to release holds every 2-3 minutes at the most. When appropriate (developmentally), we debreif with the students and practice other ways to respond to situations.
For some of these students, these dangerous behaviors occur at a much higher rate. For example, some of the students have a diagnosis of OCD and autism, some may engage in self-injurious behaviors, and some may be going through medication changes. Also, when initally implementing behavior change procedures, it is possible for the behaivors to initally increase before decreasing. For some students, progress is slow and may take a significant amount of time. Especially when working with students that are automatically reinforced by self-injurious behaviors.
These points must be taken into consideration when proposing regulations.
Parents and educators cannot be expected to meet after every two restraints. For some, this may mean they meet on a student two or more times within a week or two. Teachers cannot be expected to keep up with this amout of paperwork and parents cannot be expected to take time away from work to attend these meetings. The purpose of the meeting is nonsensical as the need for revisions to BIPs are based on data not the number of restraints the student has had. BIPs are not the answer to everything and do not fix problems overnight. Behavior change takes time.
These regulations will impact more than just teachers and the programs that serve students with severe disabilities. These regulations will impact teacher retention, workers comp costs/staff injuries, police involvement, expulsions, suspensions, parent/school relationships, law suits, and referrals to private more restrictive settings (which are limited in the state of VA) just to list a few.
In summary, these regulations cannot be a "catch all" for everyone. There is a continuum of disabilities as well as a continuum of the severity of these disabilities. There should be a continuum of regulations which match the range of students schools serve. . Additonally, regulations should be driven by student progress and data not only restraints.