Sunday, December 6, 2009

Message from the Founder: A “Behind the Scenes” Report

December 6, 2009

From: Jennifer Searcy, Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs

I wanted to apprise our readers of some things that have been going on behind the scenes.

First, I learned at a recent conference (sponsored by TASH) that individuals from Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), The MANDT System, Inc, NAPPI, Inc (Non Abusive Psychological and Physical Intervention), and JKM Training, Inc. (Safe Crisis Management) - the organizations which train individuals in deescalation and other "non-violent physical intervention" techniques have agreed to work together to begin developing a Code of Ethics for Trainers for use in the U.S. The code is to be based upon the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) Model, with the hope that, with a code of ethics in place which clearly outlines which techniques are/are not appropriate, then the use restrictive interventions (such as restraints and seclusions) will not only become safer, but also decrease.

Next, I have begun dialog with some of the training organizations I’d met at the conference to learn more about what exactly these different organizations train and what policies and/or procedures they follow when allegations of abuse by their “certified instructors or trainers” are brought to their attention.

We have asked them to answer the following questions:

What de-escalation and physical intervention techniques does your organization train?

Does your organization train “prone” or other “floor” restraints?
Does your organization train in the use of seclusion and/or seclusion rooms?

Does your organization have policies/procedures in place for when a parent or advocate reports incidents of possible training/technique abuse/misuse?

Does your organization have a Division of Compliance or employ compliance officers who personally investigate instances of alleged misuse/abuse of your organization’s techniques?

If not, are there any plans to create a “compliance division,“ to address issues of possible misuse/abuse?

Do you have any employees who physically visit the location where possible misuse/abuse of techniques may have occurred/be occurring; to conduct interviews with the instructor and individuals he/she has trained?

Do you have employees who actually observe the “training”- in action and on location, if at all possible - to see if appropriate techniques are being taught/have been used?

Is there a “probationary period” – where a newly-certified instructor/trainer is observed by another employee/certified instructor/trainer for a set number of training sessions to ensure the newly-certified instructor/trainer is training others correctly from the get-go?

Do you have any employees who review previously documented incidents of restraint use and other techniques to see if misuse has/had occurred?

What procedures does your organization follow when a certified instructor/trainer has been identified/confirmed as not putting your organization’s philosophy and techniques into practice (“mistraining”)?

If an instructor/trainer has lost their certification due to either misuse/abuse of techniques or through “mistraining” others, can that previously-certified instructor/trainer re-obtain their instructor/training certification by going through a retraining program?

If the instructor loses his/her certification status, but is permitted to complete retraining and successfully obtains certification again, is there a probationary period for that instructor/trainer, where the instructor/trainer can only train under direct supervision by another employee/certified instructor/trainer for a set number of trainings?

Does your organization offer retraining to any individual who may have been “mistrained” by a confirmed “mistrainer”?

We’ll let you know what responses (if any) we receive.

In the meantime, CPI has given us a list of materials that parents can ask their district for if they have concerns over CPI techniques that may be used on/for their child. A post with this information will be up shortly.

We are also following up on a story we shared with you earlier this week about the Frederick County School District in Maryland. We have grave concerns about what was reported in that news article and are in the process of compiling data which we will share with the Disability Rights Network/Law Center of Maryland. We do know the DRC of Maryland is aware of this situation, but do not know much beyond that. In any case, we intend to ask them to formally investigate this district for abuse of aversive techniques and on civil rights issues. A copy of the investigation request will appear on this blog as soon as it is ready to be sent.

We have also been reviewing the Kansas Seclusion and Restraint Guidelines, which can be found here: A blog post with our criticisms and concerns will be posted within the next few days.

And as usual, we're also working with a number of families on school (abuse) issues, as well as trying out best to keep you up to date on any news articles/locations we run across.

It's been a busy, but productive, few weeks.

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