2018 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Be Creative - Innovative Solutions for an Inclusive Life,” reminds us to think outside the box during times of uncertainty. Creativity, innovation, and determination can pave the way for meaningful and inclusive lives for people with disabilities.

Friday, November 30 • 10:45am - 11:35am
A Lesson in Restraint: Keeping Teachers and Students Safer in the Classroom Filling

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Teaching individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities is not only an extremely rewarding career, it can also be one of the most demanding. In a special needs classroom, teachers often encounter children with challenging behavior. Outbursts can be severe and even include aggressive language, destruction of property, self-inflicted injury or physically acting out towards another student or teacher. How teachers choose to respond can have a lasting impact on the children in their care - it can either decrease or increase the chance of injury to one's self or to the student. While no teacher relishes the idea of using coercive techniques like restraint and seclusion, in flashpoint moments, they can seem like the quickest path to defusing a situation. The truth is that these techniques, far from helping children, actually reinforce behaviors of concern. Research indicates that such interventions actually cause and maintain aggression and violence thereby inviting opportunities for injury to the student, the teacher and others in the classroom. Therefore, using them in an attempt to make the classroom safer is misguided. A recent report released by the Office for Civil Rights indicates that restraint and seclusion are not only harmful but may be discriminatory toward students with disabilities. Despite representing only 12% of the public school population, students with disabilities comprise two-thirds of the 267,000 children who are physically restrained or secluded from their classmates annually. When disproportionately used on students with disabilities, schools are violating the guarantee, under IDEA, of a Free and Public Education by reducing time spent in the classroom and creating unequal educational opportunity. While subjected to these practices, students are not receiving educational instruction or services. These practices also create a negative impact on relationships between students and educators. Why, then, are these techniques still being used? In large part, it is due to the fact that no alternative is provided. Often, teachers are trained that, if verbal de-escalation doesn't work, the immediate next step is to use restraint or seclusion. No other options are offered nor is training provided on alternative techniques. What if, instead, teachers were provided with a set of highly effective, high leverage practices that promote students' social and emotional well-being while also keeping the classroom safer for everyone; practices that are based on the principle that all intervention should be used to comfort rather than control a student? Such practices not only exist but have been proven to be effective in public and private schools throughout the country. As a result, the number of incidents of problem behavior is reduced, there are fewer distractions in the classroom and teachers are able to focus on their core responsibility: providing quality instruction. With a trauma-informed approach and the proper training, restraint and seclusion can be eliminated without compromising the safety of educators or students. In addition, using such an approach will help to reverse other negative impacts of trauma such as higher dropout rates, attendance issues and impaired concentration. In this session, led by Kimberly Sanders, President of Ukeru Systems, session participants will be provided with concrete action steps and tools to prevent restraint, allowing them an opportunity to proactively look into the reasons behind students' challenging behaviors. It will help them to create the space to identify struggling students earlier, thereby giving them the support they need to be successful in school.

avatar for Kim Sanders

Kim Sanders

Ukeru Systems is a division of Grafton Integrated Health Network.  Grafton is a behavioral health organization partnering with children, adolescents, and adults with complex needs for 60 years. Using its own experience as a model, Grafton developed Ukeru® (Japanese for “receive... Read More →

Friday November 30, 2018 10:45am - 11:35am
Laurelhurst - Second Floor 1401 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201

Attendees (29)