Students with autism can present with behaviors that are dangerous to themselves and to others, and that, in rare circumstances, necessitate the reliance on Safety Procedures such as seclusion or physical restraint. I developed a program for the appropriate use of Safety Procedures in such circumstances, ensuring compliance fully with the most stringent standards, and helping to maintain extremely low rates of in-patient hospitalization or residential placement (Doehring and Winterling, 2011, 2013).
I formalized standards for the appropriate use of Safety Procedures, including the emphasis on de-escalation strategies, the revision of the behavior plan, the inclusion of a Safety Plan, and thorough documentation.
I organized and expanded training in the appropriate response to dangerous behavior by increasing the number of certified trainers and ensuring intensive initial training and annual refreshers for all trainers and school staff. The increase in certified trainers from 1 to 20 ensured that all 400 staff statewide received intensive initial training, and annual updates.
I also developed and implemented programs of oversight for the use of Safety Procedures, including independent evaluation and ongoing oversight of the behavior plan and student progress by the Peer Review Committee (described above), and annual auditing of the use of Safety Procedures using a 2nd oversight committee mandated by state law. Psychologists or other classroom team members who were unable to comply with standards were recommended for termination.
With Vince Wintering. (2013). Delaware Autism Program: Statewide Educational Services in the Public Schools. In Autism Services Across America: Roadmaps for Improving State and National Education, Research, and Training Programs. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD