Thursday, September 20, 2012

A seclusion room by any other name is still a seclusion rooms

Cool-down room’ or padded cell?

Restraint and seclusion at Deer Valley elementary school

Deer Valley faces lawsuit over its restraint and seclusion practices

Thanks to Carey Pena and Channel 3 for bringing attention to the issue of restraint and seclusion in Arizona.  Hopefully this news feature will raise awareness of an otherwise hidden problem in our schools.  That is what our clients in this story hope to accomplish so that other children do not have to endure what this little boy did.

This continues to be a national epidemic, but a hidden epidemic.  Parents need to be vigilant to assure this is not happening to their own children.  Non-verbal children are most at risk, but verbal children as well can believe that they're "bad" and that this is "ok" and they may even be afraid to tell their parents.  There may be no signs or symptoms, or there may be bruises and scratches (from the restraint or from the child self-injuring while in seclusion).  Note any changes in your child's usual routines and behaviors, any new founded fears, and just ask the school - ask your child's teacher, the school principal, a trusted staff of the school - if the school has a seclusion room, a room - although the school may call it a "cool down" room, or any other less punitive sounding name.

Here, Deer Valley has a restraint and seclusion policy -- on paper.  It failed to abide by its own policy.  Words don't mean much on paper, without the intent to actually implement the policy as written.

For more information, see Huffington Post article.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Intersection of Autism and Family Law: What the Bench and Bar Should Know

KGK Attorney Hope Kirsch will be presenting to the Family Law Section of the Maricopa County Bar Association, along with Dr. Linda C. Caterino, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Psychologist in private practice and Professor at Arizona State University and Thomas Alongi, Senior Staff Attorney, Family Law Unit of Community Legal Services:  The Intersection of Autism and Family Law: What the Bench and Bar Should Know.  Nicole Siqueiros, Attorney at Hallier & Lawrence, PLC, will be the moderator.  The presentation is geared toward family law attorneys and and judges given the likely increase in family law cases involving children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders. 

Date:  November 1, 2012
Time: Noon to 1:30 P.M.
Location: Maricopa County Bar Association
                 303 East Palm Lane
                 Phoenix, AZ 85004
Pricing:  MCBA members: $62.50            MCBA Paralegal & Public Division members: $40
            MCBA Family Law Section members: $55
            MCBA Student members: $10
            Non-members: $102.50

To Register:  http://www.maricopabarpdf

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Can't Do This, But Can Do That: Understanding learning differences

Great HBO film about learning differences from the child's perspective, I Can't Do This But I Can Do That.  Watch heartbreaking stories from the children themselves about what it feels like to be different in school.  They describe their struggles with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia.  Get a glimpse into some great interventions by sensitive and knowing educators and schools helping these students to learn alongside peers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

SECLUSION: A trerrifying way to discipline children

This is a great article from the NY Times that discusses seclusion.  It is a terrifying way to discipline children.  Who knew students were being placed in seclusion rooms, isolation rooms, closets, all in the name of discipline?  Ask your child's teachers and principal if the school has a seclusion room, isolation room or
"cool down room," and if so, request to see it.  Ask the school for its policy on restraint and seclusion.  Schools too often use these rooms for routine punishment.  Don't let that happen to your child.  If the school is placing your child in isolation, then the school needs to meet with you to determine what is triggering your child's behaviors, and then the school needs to develop a POSITIVE behavior intervention plan.