Friday, October 23, 2009

Yet Another Reason To Homeschool Your Child

I came across this article in the Hartford Advocate.
It is downright disturbing.

"A pre-schooler in the West Hartford public school system is made to wear a weight vest for being too wiggly"

A 3-year-old boy was made to wear a weight vest - sort of a smock with weights in it "to weigh him down so he can stay sitting longer."

You know, if a parent did this at home they would most likely be charged with child abuse.

It seems this 3 year old boy in this West Hartford, CT pre-school didn't want to sit still for "circle time.... He was "wiggly" and didn't "listen well" and the weight vest "helped him".

The mom said - "It was sad because [my son] was the only one who had that used on him".
She also said to the administrators,"Why didn't you just tie him to a tree? It's the same thing".
School officials declined to comment on the Rodriguezes' account of events.

Weighted vests are in fact used in therapy for autistic children, or children with sensory integration disorder - a condition that makes them uncomfortable with things like fluorescent lights, or the texture of their food - according to David Medina, spokesman for Hartford Public Schools.

Medina said the vests are used in the Hartford school system, but only with the parents' consent and only when prescribed by an occupational therapist. He said experts describe the effect of the vest, when used properly, as "like being hugged."

"It's a heavy coat with lead weights," said Medina. "It's not meant as a punishment and it's only to be applied for 15 minutes, approximately."

Susan Avena, a visiting assistant professor of psychology at Trinity College in Hartford, confirmed that the pressure of a weight vest can be soothing to children with autism or other disorders.

"Autism in general is not well understood, but think of it in terms of children not being able to filter out stimulation," said Avena. "They engage in behaviors to soothe that, repetitive behaviors like spinning the wheel of a toy truck over and over. Focusing in on one stimulus feels good to them. My understanding is that the pressure of a weight vest does the same thing, eliminating some of the stimuli."

Sandra Rodriguez says her grandson is not autistic or being treated for any other disorder. He did have speech therapy for a short time, she says, but that ended when it was decided he was simply a "very quiet little boy."

As for being wiggly, Avena says that's to be expected.

"Three-year-olds wiggle. You can't expect them to sit still all the time," said Avena. "You have to design the classroom around the idea that 3-year-olds have a short attention span and limits to the control they have over their energy. Punishment for not being able to sit still at this age is not appropriate."

By the end of the meeting that day at Aiken [school], Sandra Rodriguez says [teacher] Ann Sullivan had tears in her eyes. She says Sullivan tried to hug her, but that she turned her away.

"I said, ‘Don't touch me,' and we left," she said.

That evening, Sandra says she received a call from [Timothy] Dunn [assistant superintendent for administration], who said he was going to get to the bottom of the matter. Dunn's subsequent explanation that the vest was a "therapeutic occupational device" did little to calm Sandra's anger. But Dunn did respond quickly to the incident, and arranged for her grandson to be transferred to Whiting Lane School, where he had already attended summer school and was familiar with the teachers and other children.


"He was immobilized in front of all his peers. I can't imagine what he was thinking," Sandra said. "I keep asking him, but he doesn't know. He loves school. He probably doesn't understand what happened to him."
It is just unbelievable how children this young are expected to sit still by these school administrators and teachers. The methods and tactics used by preschools to keep "class order" and regiment these children are damaging and ridiculous. It is no wonder that kids become disturbed and suicidal after going through a system that condones this type of treatment.

What is next? Shackles in school colors?

Parents should be particularly concerned and wary of what happens to their kids at school.