Friday, January 11, 2008

It took two years

I finally sent this letter. I hope I didn't bite off more than I can chew. I owe it to Bubba, and to any other child who might go through what Bubba did.

Side notes:

*The letter is intentionally obscure. I am trying to approach this slowly and systematically. It is too important. I do not think demanding that seclusion rooms are eliminated is the correct approach, even though that's how I feel.

*A seclusion room is a padded room the size of a small hall closet, has a solid door, and a small window. There is also a light and a drain. According to Bubba, it was also "stinky, cold, and scary."

*I haven't yet researched my state's stand on the use of these rooms.

*Brackets indicate words changed for privacy.

*The seclusion room was in Bubba's IEP crisis plan for less than a month, as part of his FIRST behavior intervention plan created after his FIRST functional behavior assessment. We were led to believe it was the only viable option for when he was explosive. This was not the case. We also thought it would only be used in a crisis situation. This was not the case. I do not know if I will ever forgive myself for putting Bubba in this situation. Hubby and I didn't feel right about the seclusion room the minute it was brought up. But in desperation, we agreed to it anyhow. Just because we were afraid he would get kicked out of school. Ridiculous.


Birthdate [XXXXXX]
Seclusion room (time out room) use at [XXXXXXX], Feb. 2006

Dear Ms. [XXXXXXXX],

It has been nearly two years since [our] family experienced the seclusion room at [school] Elementary. I believe the seclusion room was incorrectly used (in its intent of use, the procedure, and the documentation) in our child's case. I'm not sure how much you remember about the situation, but I do recall you stating the documentation was not the documentation of which you were familiar.

It has taken me this long (and many half-started e-mails!) to address this issue because I wanted to address it rationally rather than emotionally. I would really like to discuss our specific experience with the seclusion room at [the school] as well as my concern of this type of procedure being regulated per site rather than by the district (at least this is how it appears to be "regulated"). As I am sure you are aware, there is significant potential for misuse of the seclusion room along with the potential for serious consequences.

I would like to meet with you, [XXXXXXXXX], [Sped Director], and [Superintendent] to discuss the use of seclusion rooms in the district (if there are other coordinators that have experience with seclusion rooms, I value their input as well). I do not wish to meet with the [school] staff at this time. My concern is not specifically what [the school] does (or did), but the district's view and training and enforcement of said view on the use, procedure, and documentation of said use of the seclusion room specific to special education students.

If there is an official district policy on the use of the seclusion room that I have not been made aware of, please let me know. I would like to review any such information prior to meeting with you.

As a reminder, [Bubba] has an educational diagnosis of OHI and a medical diagnosis of agenesis of the corpus callosum and PDD-NOS. He had just turned 6 years old at the time the seclusion room was used. I encourage you to review his file regarding his developmental and progress history (he has been receiving special education services in [the district] since the age of 3).




Anonymous said...

Uh, a seclusion room? This is news to me. You can help educate me on that, offline.

I truly, truly, truly do not know how you do it. I am so proud of you. Bubba may not know or appreciate what you do for him now, but one day (I'm sure many, many years from now)he will be so thankful for your research, patience, determination, thoughts, love and decisions you have made.

You are doing such a wonderful job. I'm sorry I can't be the person that understands or can offer advice. I'm so thankful you have a circle of friends who understand. And know they are thankful to have you.

*sigh* ok, sorry for the rambling. I know it's a little much for a blog. I just want the whole world to know how proud I am of you and how lucky we are to have you. -sister

Ange said...

Thank you. You made me tear up. I believe this was somewhere during your life transition of new job, upcoming wedding, house hunting etc, so maybe I just didn't get into it. I may have referred to it as "the closet" or "time out room." That year was all such a whirlwind (remember that's the year I decided to quit working outside of the home because it was all so much). In fact, I don't know if our family knows much about it at all. I probably didn't say much because of the "opinions" on Bubba's behavior and disability in general. I think I just told M&M this past weekend. Now that you guys (the sisters) are getting older, I feel more comfortable being the one needing support, not just the oldest sister trying to offer/give it.

Casdok said...

I am finding it hard to believe such rooms are in existance.
Our kids explode or melt down for a reason and usualy a good one and usualy because of something someone else did. So to then put them in a padded cell.
Im sorry you know all this! Im just gob smacked! But i also know what it feels like to be desperate.
Good on you for writing and sending the letter. I sincerely hope positive things come out of it.
Sorry Bubba and you had to go through this first though.

Robin said...

Ange, I can appreciate you wanting to appear rational, but it is stories like these that make me wish for a little irrational head smacking (someone at the school district's head not yours).

When I think of what they got you to believe, what they got ME to believe... Well if you decide to go irrational give me a holler.