Every Special Education teacher I know who deals with children with behavioral challenges faces a moment when physical restraint of a child becomes an option in her repertoire of teacher-tricks. It happened to me early in my career. I was a reading teacher in a residential facility for boys with severe behaviors. Our school had certain protocols to follow when a child became violent; most had to do with calling for backup help. No single teacher should ever enter a restraint situation by herself.
There are legal reasons for this, but also it simply isn't safe to try to physically control a child. When a child is in a rage or feels threatened, their body responds with adrenaline. A small child can quickly become a tornado, and it isn't safe to try to grab them or put your hands on them in any way. So what do you do? We recently had a company come to our district to provide restraint training for all of our SPED staff. We wanted to make sure we had a restraint-trained teacher in every building, every day. It was the best investment we could have made for our district. Children and teachers are safer now because teachers know what to do.
Rather than calling it restraint training, it is really crisis intervention and prevention (CPI).
The purpose of the training is to provide staff with a system of verbal and physical intervention techniques that recognizes and treats escalating behavior early in its development, before it escalates to an impossible level.
CPI teaches staff to only consider using physical intervention as an emergency strategy to respond to an individual posing an immediate danger to themselves or others. Physical restraint is a last resort. Rather than restraint training, the program stresses ways to avoid the need for restraint.
There may be serious physical and psychological risks inherent in any physical intervention. The only safe restraint is one that never happens.
Proper training includes documentation of every incident of violence in the classroom and immediate consultation with parents. This prevents legal complications, but it's really just the right thing to do. Good training programs use a "train the trainer" model, where there is a highly trained individual in every school who can train others in simple ways to de-escalate stressful situations.
Verbal deescalation is simply a process of calming down a tense, nervous or agitated student by using communication, listening and body language skills.
When used correctly, teachers are likely to prevent the student from causing harm to themselves or others. Sometimes, teachers can work with a student to ask questions that clarify a student's meaning. Sometimes, we are misunderstood.
Examples of clarifying questions are:
· Can you tell me more about what you need now….?
· It sounds like this is important to you…can you tell me more about that?
· Did you mean....?
So if violence is escalating in your school, you might contemplate using crisis intervention training to increase the confidence of all staff members. Confidence eliminates fear, and fear can be damaging in the wrong circumstance.
Crisis Prevention Institute - experienced training for your teachers
Grant Name: IWP Foundation Educational Grants
Funded By: Innovating Worthy Projects Foundation
Description: Giving on a national basis. The Foundation makes grants to organizations dedicated to serving developing innovative programs, disseminating ideas, or providing direct care or services for children with special needs, acute illnesses or chronic disabilities.
Program Areas: Disabilities, Early Childhood, Special Education
Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Other
Proposal Deadline: 12/31/2016
Annual Total Amount: $100,000.00 - $200,000.00
Average Amount: $1,000.00 - $10,000.00
Address: 4045 Sheridan Avenue, Suite 296, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Availability: All States