For parents concerned that their child is experiencing restraint or seclusion at school, information can be hard to come by. Now a new guide is offering practical advice for dealing with the issue.

A 23-page document being put out by the disability advocacy group TASH is designed to give parents a straightforward look at the steps they can take to prevent the use of restraint and seclusion, identify if it’s occurring and react.

The guide offers specific recommendations on the type of language that should and should not be included in a student’s individualized education program, or IEP, and advice on spotting signs of restraint and seclusion even if a child is unable to talk about it.

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“I wish we had this guide out when my son went through restraint and seclusion six years ago. I had no one to turn to at the time, the school district told me nothing and I felt so overwhelmed and uneducated about this subject,” says Phyllis Musumeci, a Florida mom who founded Families Against Restraint and Seclusion and was part of a group of parents who created the guide. (Read all of Disability Scoop’s coverage of restraint and seclusion >>)

In recent years, TASH has led a coalition of several disability advocacy groups who have lobbied for federal legislation to restrict the use of restraint and seclusion in the nation’s schools after reports found children were subjected to abusive and even deadly practices.

Last year, the House of Representatives passed legislation on the issue but it died in the Senate. A new bill was introduced in Congress earlier this year, but has not yet been considered.

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