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Judge Rotenberg Center Restraints

June 8, 2010

Movement limitation is another commonly used Level III intervention that may be applied manually or mechanically. When applied manually, staff members physically hold the student. With mechanical movement limitation the student is strapped into/onto some form of physical apparatus.

For example, a four-point platform board designed specifically for this purpose; or a helmet with thick padding and narrow facial grid that reduces sensory stimuli to the ears and eyes. Another form of mechanical restraint occurs when the student is in a five-point restraint in a chair.

Students may be restrained for extensive periods of time (e.g., hours or intermittently for days) when restraint is used as a punishing consequence. Many students are required to carry their own “restraint bag” in which the restraint straps are contained.

Imagine the experience of a profoundly autistic child being physically restrained by multiple angry near-strangers for a long and unknown duration as punishment for an offense he may not understand. This is downright traumatic for a good section of the NRC’s students.

Now, it might be the case that these therapies actually are effective and are administered by highly trained psychologists as part of treatment carefully tailored to the individual students, and the therapies would be defensible if that actually were the case. In reality land, these therapies receive little to no support by mainstream psychologists … and the typical JRC employee only has a high school education.

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