It’s Not Our Way
It’s not our way
We know how challenging some aspects of our work with disabilities can be. But we do it to truly help, to heal and to empower each individual. That’s why restraint and seclusion are not part of our approach. Granted, we know that emergency situations may occur and that various facilities choose to adopt restraint and seclusion techniques or principles for either legal or safety purposes. But we find that repeated use of restraint and seclusion often creates a pattern for the student to repeat the same negative behavior rather than empowering them to utilize coping strategies. Our focus is on working with the student to discover new ways to communicate and to self-regulate so that engagement in the dangerous and maladaptive behaviors are no longer needed. We do this while preserving their right to protest!
It’s not easy. If it were, this approach would be nothing new. Some of us have been kicked, slapped and bitten by students. But in this work there are no easy paths. We believe our example at Port View Preparatory® is evidence of that. Instead of relying on restraint and seclusion, we devise strategies that focus on antecedents (or what happens before the behavior occurs). If the behaviors do occur, and they will, we utilize minimally invasive consequent interventions (how we respond after the behavior occurs). We have a staff of professionals that is trained in a variety of management techniques that work well and can be tailored to fit each student’s needs. In one recent instance a student who had been restrained dozens of times a month elsewhere and had exhibited instances of self-injury was taught the power of his own voice via functional communication and he received instruction to develop skills to tolerate stimuli which caused him to engage in self –injurious behaviors. Now he is able to consistently exhibit self-control and is no longer injuring himself.
Working with profound disabilities, and the sometimes problematic behaviors that can be part of that picture, will never be simple or easy. But we believe with proper training and strategic intervention it can be kinder, gentler, and more effective. That’s why we operate the way we do. And we appreciate all those who have supported our efforts and put their confidence in us.
Best of all, we have seen the results in our students. And that is the best reward!