Research highlights use of restraints
Some parents say their children were physically restrained to a chair at school, with arm splints and posey cuffs. Others reported their child had been confined to a cinder block-lined closet. In one case, a student came home often with torn clothing, after he had been “yanked around like a rag doll and forced into the quiet room.”
A new report on the use of physical restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities in Manitoba schools details anonymous accounts from parents about their children’s experiences — in certain cases, on a frequent or daily basis.
“One story about the restraint and seclusion of a child with a disability is one story too many,” said author Nadine Bartlett, an assistant professor of inclusive education at the University of Manitoba.
The report, “Behind Closed Doors,” includes insights from 62 parents and guardians who responded to an online survey (July-October 2019) about the practices. Advocacy organizations for Manitobans with disabilities helped distribute the exploratory survey, a classification that speaks to the small sample size of the research.
Adults were invited to participate in the study if their child had been physically restrained or placed in an isolated area for an extended period of time and prevented from leaving the area on at least one occasion during the last three years.
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