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Why is physical restraint used on my ten year old childchild who has a Complex Anxiety Disorder?

(7 Posts)
NotECM Sat 05-Feb-11 23:02:01

I have a ten year old son with a Severe and Complex Learning Disability, Challenging Behaviour , ASD and Complex Anxiety Disorder. From 2006 until May 2010 he attended a generic local special school, but due to his increasing distress against going to school and his physical responses to the stress of being physically forced onto the bus by several adults and restrained and then being physically restrained at school I finally stopped sending him in May 2010. He has been/attempted to be, restrained a number of times at school and this caused an escalation in his anxiety, his school refusal has escalated and he has suffered nightmares and obsessive hand washing and screaming until he would bleed. The staff continued to restrain him without my consent and although they said it was a reason of health and safety, the documentation states it was because of non compliance to requests , such as to change and to go in the hall. When he was escorted using Team Teach, he physically hit out and resisted and a de escalation technique of two adults physically restraining him on the floor and holding him down for 2 minutes was carried out. MY CHILD PINNED DOWN FOR 2
MINUTES, and he has a COMPLEX ANXIETY DISORDER!! He stopped resisting, but came home and carried this out on my six year old daughter.

I would like to ask whether this is a violation of his individual human right? I voiced my concerns to the Head about this action but it continued, is this legal?

I am in the middle of a tribunal requesting a residential place for him at a school that has an alternative approach to teaching - one that doesn't create anxiety as this is also related to formal learning. However the generic special school he has attended claim they can meet his needs successfully - they claim he is happy and settled. They have shown only one piece of documentation to say he has been physically restrained - but I have his home /school diary showing reference to restraint used and attempts to restraint a number of times! The tribunal has been adjourned due to time wasting by the LA (a well known tactic) with providing evidence the day before so instead of discussing the merits of the case time is spent sifting through last minute evidence that could have been provided earlier. The panel appear to be very pro local authority. They are of the opinion that physical restraint is routine and acceptable in special schools and have not allowed me the opportunity to discuss the emotional impact this has had on my son long term. Instead they are passing this off as a transition issue!

If corporal punishment is illegal in this country why is this practice routinely used on our vulnerable children???

Why isn't a parent's concern taken into account and why aren't the tribunal panel asking about the subsequent emotional impact of such restraint on my child?

Surely this is a violation of his individual human right?

Can somebody advise/assist?

I wrote a desperate last minute plea for help to David Cameron but he didn't respond and instead passed it to Education who did respond to say they could not get involved in any individual case.

Supersunnyday Sun 06-Feb-11 18:45:38

I am sure you already know about this, but have you contacted IPSEA? They offer free legal advice to parents of children with SEN. See here

bettyboop63 Thu 17-Feb-11 12:14:08

id contact an educational solicitor there are some very good ones about and you and i know your rightmy ds's last school did that to him hes ASD and has anxiety disorder and this made him completely miss trust all adults i think he knew peers bullied but was a complete shock to find the adults who you think are trustworthy and that your safe with them only to find you are not. it is terrible this is how we treat our most vunerable and i agree i do think this is against his human rights my son is about to join a SS for ASD it only takes pupils diagnosed/statemented with ASD this i think is better than generic SS who take DC with a host of issues is it possible somewhere in your region you have a ASD school as i think they will be better equiped to cope with the stratagies needed for yr Dc'sdisorders

WoleyDoodle Thu 17-Mar-11 22:07:22

I completely understand and am currently going through something similar with my own son who is a very small 11 year old with epilepsy resulting in complex learning difficulties AT A SPECIAL SCHOOL.
My little boy was held in a prone restraint by THREE staff for 40 minutes TWICE resulting in serious internal bleeding (my son almost died due to positional asphyxia)

It has been a desperately stressful time for our family, but trying to actually DO anything about it has been extremely difficult. The Police didnt bring charges because there was "no intent".
Child protection meetings were held by panels full of teachers, head teachers and deputy heads- they were never going to find colleagues guilty of abuse! The council were defiant and frankly downright rude in their response to our official complaint.

6 months on and those three teachers are still teaching kids in this school and are free to do it again to another child because they seem to be teflon coated! Nothing sticks!

We have contacted every single advice group possible and they all make the right noises but NO ONE takes the school or the LA to task.

We have now instructed a solicitor to try and deal with this by way of some kind of civil action. Luckily for us, the firm are doing it free of charge, so we will see what happens.

I am seriously considering a Parliamentary Petition in trying to ban these deadly restraints (as they are trying to do in the USA) but I am only one voice. I just cannot understand why the most vulnerable and fragile children through no fault of their own are being treated like common criminals and I would dearly love someone somewhere to make it stop.

Good Luck! You have my sincere sympathies- this is not a path any of us wish to be on but we are!

RunkidsKID Wed 25-May-11 19:46:02

Woleydoodle that is a long time to be held does he need three staff and what did he do to warrant such restraint for so long.

direlahere Fri 03-Jun-11 20:57:49

wooleydoodle I am so sorry to hear about your experiences, I wish you well in your pursuit of justice for your child.

"The council were defiant and frankly downright rude in their response to our official complaint".

This doesn't surprise me at all and having worked with both children and adults with complex needs I cannot see how any restraint could be justified for 40 minutes, this seems really concerning to me.

You may be one voice but there needs to be collective requests for the rights of disabled children to be upheld. I have often thought that there needs to be a childrens rights commissioner for vulnerable disabled children in the same way as there is one for looked after children. If your child receives short breaks subject to section 20 children act, I do wonder if you may be able to access the commissioner as your child would have looked after status when in short breaks. This is clearly a rights issue.

WoleyDoodle Mon 19-Sep-11 10:13:02

Hi thanks for your comments.

Update:

I agree direlahere, I also dont see how any restraint could go on for that length of time but it did, it's in the police statements. They admitted it, so there is no denying they did it. The fact is that my child has never required restraining before or since this happened but three staff basically sat on him and he could have died. As it was they rendered him unconscious due to lack of oxygen and he urinated himself while he was "out". The next stage to all intents and purposes was death.

We are now almost a year on, and my son is still anxious about going to school everyday. He tells me school is "a scary place" yet the school paint a different story, according to him, he is an angel and causes them no problems whatsoever. Somehow I don't really believe them.

We feel extremely isolated and alone. We do not require respite for our son, but we have consulted a highly reputable solicitor who has all the evidence he needs to sue. The council have made no response, instead, they have referred the matter to their "insurers". Presumably that means some kind of pay-out in the hope we will shut up and go away!

I want a full enquiry. I also know that at least one other child has suffered similar injuries, interestingly enough, while he was in the care of two out of the three staff involved in my sons case. I also have a former member of staff willing to "whistleblow".

I am fully aware that sometimes, children require "positive handling" (oh how I hate that phrase) but there is a difference between holding a child back so that he/she doesnt come to harm/harm others/prevent them from leaving a room ect, and basically "decking" a child to the floor, face down and having three people sit on them till they are knocked unconscious and almost die.

I will not give in, I want this out in the open- the public have to know what is going on underneath our noses because it is disgusting.

I just wish I wasn't the only one prepared to stand up for the rights of my child. We're told that there are laws to protect vulnerable individuals in society, but try and get those laws enforced is nigh on impossible.

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