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A six-year-old autistic boy was allegedly restrained in a chair using a weighted vest, belt and ankle straps.

His mother has said she was disgusted when a carer told her in May her son had been locked in the chair and left there while he was a student at Taree’s Manning Gardens Public School. The woman removed her son from the school and he hasn’t gone back, reports The Daily Telegraph.

“I would describe it as barbaric, I was thinking it was something from the 60s, something you’d see in institutions from decades ago,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

The mother said her son was non-verbal, autistic and had a serious intellectual impairment but was “calm” and “not aggressive at all”.

“I’m horrified, this boy can’t speak, he can’t tell me what happened, he has no picture cards, no signs, he has what we call receptive language so he understands when he is spoken to but he can’t himself speak,” she said.

The mother said it was disturbing the school didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with the alleged practice.

“When I was shown the chairs the person that showed me didn’t see a problem… There was no worry at all,” she said.

The woman also raised concern about a “fenced off” area her son was kept in that she says resembled “a cage” at the public school.

She said the Education Department reported her this week for her son’s lack of attendance at school, even though she had tried to enrol him in other towns only to be told it was “an unreasonable request”.

An Education Department spokesman said they had met with the mother on several occasions and the matter was investigated.

“The Department is continuing to work with the family to find an appropriate alternative educational setting for the student.”

We also recently shared a story about a Melbourne school for children with intellectual disabilities that is under investigation after being accused of making one of its students sit outside in a beanbag. Read that story here.

chair

Sensory vests

While we certainly do not condone anything this school has done, especially restraining a child to a chair, weighted vests are actually used by many children with sensory processing disorders, autism, or ADHD. It can show dramatic improvement in their ability to sit still and concentrate on tasks.

They provide constant, even, deep pressure input to your child when his body is craving it. Based on sensory integration techniques, added weight and pressure provide unconscious information from muscles resulting in a relaxing calming effect on children with autism.

Share your comments below.

More related stories:

Image via Daily Telegraph

  • It does indeed sound barbaric. Where was this?

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  • Very very sad. It really is barbaric.

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  • I’m sorry this has happened to your precious child. My best friend is a teacher trained in special education. She is so good at what she does and she has made such an improvement in the kids’ lives. The spectrum of autism between all the kids is drastically different, and that’s exactly why people like my friend exist. They know how to reach out to these kids, properly! What is very upsetting is that the new principal doesn’t believe in special education and that all kids with special needs should be forced to learn in a typical classroom setting with kids who don’t understand these kids with autism. It breaks my heart. I hope there is a happy ending for you.

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  • Its a shame what this school done 2 your child I know that the school I used 2 work at while my children was going 2 school there was a autistic child there but he had a teacher’s aid with him he also couldn’t talk but she worked with him and taught him 2 talk
    She taught him 2 go 2 the bathroon and alot of things and she went with him right from the start till he went 2 high school and graduated
    And the school NEVER TIED HIM 2 A CHAIR they treaded him like a human being not a animal Hope your son’s 0k know and happy

    sam1949@rogers.com

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  • This is so not ok !!
    I hope the Department of Education will take actions against this school !

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  • That is disgusting

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  • Many schools have a support unit for children with special needs. I hope this lady can find an appropriate school for her child.


    • There is less schools with special units than needed. You often have to travel a fair distance to one, in some cases at least 1/2 hour drive, longer if the traffic is busy.
      I can understand a child being put in a chair at the back of them room if the child has a tendency to fall off / out of a chair because he/she tends to tip backwards due to a physical balance problem.

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  • No child should be treated this way and even more so an autistic child.

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  • No one should be treated like this at all.

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  • I saw this on Facebook the other day. it’s absolutely disgusting

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  • So are chairs that a child can sit in, in the back of the classroom that have belts on them to keep them on the chair so they will not fall out, but can swivel around so the child can have a sense of movement if needed, as the chair is in the back of the class the movement has little effect on the rest of the class.. as they are not aware.. So sad a child that has a normal understanding mind but no expressive ability is treated in this way…

    Reply

  • You think that you children would be safe at school, no matter their intellectual or physical capabilities, disgusting!

    Reply

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