The Padded Room. We laugh about it, right?
Maybe I'll reconsider my glib use of the phrase "Oh, just lock me in a padded room." At least this week. Come on, we've all said it. As we complain about some petty annoyance. "Oh that line at the Stop & Shop was so long and the woman ahead of me had a stack a coupons and she actually wrote out a paper check! -- Just lock me in a padded room! I was late for my (insert your favorite diversion here.)"
Well, this photo is of a padded room used in a ELEMENTARY SCHOOL for children who become out of control. This elicits a thousand questions from me. The first being what have we done to our children that they are so out of control that they require restraints, padded rooms and heavy-duty psych meds?
Many of us in the autism world have our theories. Whatever you may think - we'd be naive not to realize that something(s) has changed our kids drastically, and not for the better.
Here's the article about this padded room. In one of the wealthiest counties in America. In one of the most acclaimed towns in the county.
I'm not casting judgement on the use of the room. I don't walk in that Mom's shoes. I'm guessing the room is a safer alternative to some of the physical take-down restraints schools use. And it sure as hell beats the electric shock devices used elsewhere on children. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I just wonder why a school would need this room to begin with. It might treat the "symptom" of out of control behavior - but I'd sure like to get down to the CAUSE.
(04/30/07) NORWALK - A week after hearing a 7-year-old autistic boy was put in a padded room at Ox Ridge Elementary School in Darien, a mother whose son had a similar experience is working with a state lawmaker on a bill to require strict rules for the use of such rooms.
Maryann Lombardi, of Wilton, whose son was placed in a padded room when he was 9 years old, has teamed with state Sen. Judith Freedman, of Westport, to pass the bill, which would look to ensure that schools “don’t isolate children in what we call these isolation rooms or padded rooms unnecessarily because it really is detrimental, especially to a special-needs child.”
Added Freedman: “The parent has to be contacted and the parent has to be part of the process.”
The issue of seclusion rooms has some parents with mixed feelings. Some are appalled the rooms exist in southwestern Connecticut schools. Other parents feel that, if used correctly, the rooms can be used as safe places. That includes Lombardi.