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First Published Saturday, 6th September, 2008.

ASAN

FWD:

*On August 26, 2008, Paula Durbin-Westby represented the Autistic Self
Advocacy Network, via conference call, at a public hearing held by the
Florida Department of Education on Proposed Rules for the Use of Reasonable
Force by School Personnel. The hearing was an opportunity for the public to
provide specific comments to the proposed language, which can be found at **
https://www. flrules.org/ gateway/ruleNo. asp?id=6A- 6.05271*<https://www. flrules.org/ gateway/ruleNo. asp?id=6A- 6.05271>
**

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a grassroots organization of people on
the autism spectrum, supports a complete ban on prone restraint, with no
exceptions. No child should be restrained because of behaviors that are part
of a disability. In addition, we support positive behavioral supports rather
than the use of restraints.

Many important areas are not addressed in the proposed rule. The rule as
promulgated provides no clarification on use of prone restraint, no
clarification of the use of restraints and seclusion for behaviors that are
often specific to the student’s disability, such as property destruction
which was mentioned by one parent here. The term “reasonable” is too vague.
The word “should” needs to be replaced by the word “will,” otherwise the
regulations become meaningless. We strongly recommend notification of
parents for any disciplinary measure. We support the inclusion of language
that would hold schools accountable for violations of the regulations. First
and foremost the regulations need to be clarified. Too much is left to the
discretion of school personnel.

We urge training of all personnel and monitoring of all interventions used
with students. We oppose corporal punishment and seclusion techniques. The
rule needs to be standardized across the state rather than left up to the
discretion of local school boards.


Ari Ne’eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1101 15th Street, NW Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005
http://www.autistic advocacy. org
732.763.5530



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