What are the Implications of Discrimination of Autistic Children in School from a Historical, Social, Psychological, and Political Perspective? How Does the Federal and State Governments Discriminate Against Autistic Children? Word Count: 1213 How Does the Federal and State Governments Discriminate Against Autistic Children? Autism is a brain disorder that impairs social skills, developmental language, and communication skills. Autistic people respond to their surroundings in unusual ways that may include aggressive behavior. This disorder may cause seizures and repetitive movements such as rocking, pacing, etc.
For these reasons, autistic children need special education to fulfill their specific needs. Due to this disorder, some people discriminate against autistic children. There are several types of autism discrimination, which includes denying access to school because of his/her disorder, restraint and seclusion. Restraint and seclusion are controversial topics and there isn’t a clear consensus if they are autism discrimination. The journal Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities reports a survey taken by parents and guardians about restraint and seclusion use on their disabled children.
The findings show that disabled children are often exposed to restraint and seclusion. There are five types of restraints: prone, supine, physical, mechanical, and chemical restraints. These restraints immobilizes people in different ways. “Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving”. Seclusion and restraints are discriminatory against autistic children excluding emergencies because of its negative implications on them.
There are no federal laws preventing restraint and seclusion; however several states have taken steps o address the problem but this not the case for all states though. Therefore, the federal government should create laws that limits restraint and seclusion use on autistic children. The Impact of Restraint and Seclusion Laws on Autistic Children The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, found that there is no proof that restraining or secluding a child brings any educational or therapeutic benefits.
The use of restraints or seclusion can actually psychologically and/or physically damage a child in situations where there is no threat. These techniques are used because they are considered a quick ay to make an autistic child “cooperative”. However, they are traumatizing, can lead to physical injury or even death to the child. The most dangerous restraints are prone, physical, and supine restraints according to the investigation of the leading causes of deaths associated with restraints from the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
Currently, there are no federal laws that ban the use of these restraints on autistic children. To add, there are no federal laws that limit them to emergencies that threaten the safety of the child, other students and/or teachers. The government discriminates against autistic children by allowing he use of prone, supine, and physical restraints when they are the leading causes of deaths associated with restraints. Schools can use these restraint techniques because they are not forbidden by federal law.
It should be noted that this may not be the case for all states because several states have prohibited the use of life threatening dangerous restraints. According to Jessica Butler, the mother of an autistic child who has served as the Congressional Affairs Coordinator for the Autism National Committee, only 28 states have done so, which means that there are 22 states that are discriminating against autistic hildren by allowing the use of restraints that can end their life.
Moreover, only 22 states require that an emergency threatening physical danger exist before restraints can be used for children with disabilities. Therefore, there is a majority of 28 states that unfairly permits schools to use restraints on autistic children whenever they please. While several states have took steps to prevent the discrimination of autistic children, there is still a large portion of states that allow schools to discriminate autistic children because of the absence of a federal law concerning this issue.
Children in seclusion have been killed, injured, and/or traumatized. This is because an autistic child may harm themselves in seclusion without constant monitoring. This is reflected by the case of a Georgia teen who committed suicide in seclusion while his teacher sat outside as reported by CNN. His teacher didn’t continuously monitor him and that led to his suicide. Despite this, only 29 states either ban seclusion or require staff to continuously watch disabled students in seclusion.
This discrimination from 21 states is harming autistic children and putting them at a grave risk for hurting themselves. Moreover, the federal government has not put any laws regarding seclusion therefore they are discriminating against autistic children. This is because they did not enforce any laws that bans or even limits the use of seclusion against autistic children. Consequently, there will continue to be cases in which autistic children suffer from injury or death because of the absence of federal and state law concerning seclusion.
Conclusions and Solutions The federal and several state governments discriminates against autistic children. There are several solutions available that can fix this. To address restraint use in schools, there should be a ederal law that limits it to emergency situations in which the safety of other students, teachers, and/or the autistic child is threatened. This will lead to a decline in restraint use because it’s mostly used in situations with no emergencies present according to the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights.
Moreover, the use of prone, supine, and physical restraints should be banned because they are the leading causes of deaths associated with restraints. Subsequently, this will decrease the death rate associated with restraints. Furthermore, chemical restraints should be advocated by the Department of Education because according to the journal Education And Treatment Of Children, they are directly monitored and supervised and for this reason it is the most safe restraint to use.
Therefore, chemicals restraints should be advocated more than mechanical restraints but both should be legal by federal law in emergency situations. Additionally, all staff members performing mechanical restraints should undergo a training program as most people that perform restraints are untrained. This be very expensive however it will decrease death and injury that occur because of improperly erformed restraints. In addition to that, all staff members should be trained for crisis management and de-escalation techniques that are non aversive and therapeutic.
This will reduce the use of seclusion because a study from the Journal of At-Risk Issues, revealed that professional staff training was effective in reducing seclusion timeout procedures by 39. 4%. The federal government should permit seclusion however there needs to be a teacher that is continuously watching the child. This will prevent children from harming or even killing themselves. Several federal lawmakers attempted to create a egislation that limits the use of restraints and seclusion in public schools according to ProPublica, which won two Pulitzer prizes.
Unfortunately, this went nowhere. Critics of this legislation argued that “policy decisions about the practices are best left to state and local leaders” and the federal government should just ensure that districts have enough money to provide staff training. Proponents fired back by noting that states and districts do not have the ability to create enough safeguards. Therefore, the federal government should take further action to stop these forms of autism discrimination.