I help out at my church with special needs children. My special friend is Isabella, a four year old with Downs Syndrome. I have been concerned on different occasions by the actions of the man who is in charge of the Special Friends room. Today was one of those times. There is a boy who is probably around six or seven and he is what I would consider mildly autistic. I have no training in this area but he is able to verbally communicate with the people around him. Today he was going around the room and spitting on the windows. The man who is in charge of the room kept telling him to stop. Finally he took the boy, put him on the floor and was leaning over him and wouldn't let him get up. The boy started fighting against being restrained which to me is a normal reaction if you have some huge man leaning over you and restraining you. The man struggled with him for a good ten minutes and wouldn't let the boy go. He wrapped his arms around the boy and held him captive. I said something to the person who supervises the man and she didn't seem to be concerned. I asked her if he had training in the area of autistic children. She said he had
He sounds like a bully and if the supervisor won't listen to you go to some one else ( the priest?). Your instinct is telling you that they way the man is behaving is wrong, and it certainly sounds appalling to me.
I couldn't stand by and watch such nasty abuse. He isn't treating the child with any respect at all. Being autistic doesn't mean that you have to be treated in such a disgusting manner, it means that you have to have understanding, and ways of stopping behaviour that is unwanted. For the little boys sake get the man to stop.
If no one will listen then tell the parents, I'm sure they'll stop it!
Leaving autism out of the equation, in any sort of school or church group or other "kid social grouping" situation, it is not appropriate for an adult to physically restrain a child unless that child is physically harming himself or someone else. Being disruptive does not count. You address the child's behavior verbally, if that doesn't work, and the behavior is intolerable, you talk to the parents.
As a special education teacher, you only physically restrain a child is when he is physically harming himself or others. You never ever restrain for something like spitting. Using "time out" or simply distracting the child will be much more effective and appropriate.
Thank you all so much for your replies. I will not let this situation go unnoticed. I feel so bad for this little boy and his family. I'm sorry I didn't go with my instincts at the time and step in to protect the child. Next time I certainly will!!
Hi - the person who supervises this man who did the restraint SHOULD BE VERY CONCERNED as what you are describing is child abuse. That was a totally inappropriate and abusive response - he should have removed the child from the situation and/or redirected him and/or call in the parents to sit down and discuss how to manage this problem. If it were my son, he would have been very, very upset. If the parents hear about what happened, they could initiate a lawsuit and would win, big time!! Please tell the supervisor asap that the boy cannot be treated this way and that there IS liability; also contact the parents to get their input as to how they would handle the problem.
I totally agree with janewhite under no circumstance should this man be able to do this to any child especially one with Autism .He made the situation worse by restraining him and i agree with miara it is child abuse if he his there to look after children with special needs he wants reporting .If that was my son i would want telling straight away .The parents will thankyou for telling them and dont beat urself up about not stopping it then, you can stop it now by standing up and telling the parents good luck and let us know what happens.
For some kids timeouts don't work and if it were my kid I am fully in favor of restraining them or spanking them so long as other things have been tried first. I think in fact its irresponsible not not take any necessary required action to stop any kid from spitting all over the place. Fortunately when my kids have done this same thing we have been able to stop it by taking favorite toys away, 5 minute timeout etc. I have difficult children but I have sympathy for caretakers of even more difficult children and have seen kids not listen to anything. Restraint to me is acceptable as a last resort so long as the airway isn't being cut off. The key is good training so they can avoid it 99% of the time but I would not be quick to condemn this guy if he had no better option.
But he did - he had loads of better options, just chose the "bully - boy / I'm irritated with you and want to get my own back" tactic. Why not just get the parents back in if he couldn't handle it? I'm sure that's what most parents would wish for rather than having their child treated in rather a cruel fashion.
hoboclown - restraints can only legally be used if a behavioral procedure plan has been signed off by parents/guardian and the professionals involved. it is always the last on the list of options to try. the people who do the restraint legally must have officially training in the safe procedure.
spanking on the other hand, is ALWAYS ILLEGAL. NO EXCEPTIONS.
an easy step for that person would have been to call the parents and tell them what was happening and that the boy needed to be taken home; with a plan to meet to set up a behavioral plan.