Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask the Expert

Q:   I have a newborn with Down syndrome.  My friend has mentioned First Steps services.  How soon should we get started?

A:  Right now!  The First Steps program in Indiana provides Early Intervention (EI) Services to Children ages birth to 3 or who are at risk for developmental delays.  These services can include Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Developmental Therapy, and Nutrition services as well as many others.  Getting started early with services is one way you can help to optimize your child’s development.  For more information contact Indiana First Steps at 317-232-1144 and press #2 or toll free in Indiana 1-800-441-7837 and press option #2.

Maria Stanley, M.D.

Ann Whitehill Down Syndrome Program

Riley Hospital for Children

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Indiana University School of Medicine


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Take Action Today

In response to the events that took place at Westlake Elementary School in Wayne Township on Monday, February 4, 2013, where an 8 year old girl with Down syndrome came home from school with her legs  duct-taped as a form of disciplinary action, it leaves many families that have a loved one with Down syndrome or special needs wondering how this could still be happening. Down syndrome Indiana, affirms the right of ALL children with Down syndrome to be treated with dignity and respect in ALL Indiana schools and the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraints in schools needs to end!

According to the Arc of Indiana, currently, schools in Indiana are not required to have a policy regarding the use of seclusion and restraints in their school. Procedures designed to reduce inappropriate behavior should never stigmatize, humiliate, or call unnecessary attention to an individual’s disability. In addition, the presence of a disability does not confer license for treatment that is disrespectful, dehumanizing or harmful.  If an intervention would be unacceptable for use with students without disabilities, it cannot justify its use with students with disabilities.

Indiana is one of only 19 states with a law protecting students from the use and misuse of seclusion and restraints in some situations, such as, long term care facilities and people in our state prisons and even kids in juvenile justice centers, but nothing in statute for our students in schools. It is time that Indiana treats our students with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Please Take Action Now!

Indiana Senate Bill 345 (SB 345) requires local school boards to approve policies on the use of seclusion and restraints in schools.  The policy must outline training for appropriate school personnel on the use of seclusion and restraints when an imminent danger is present, outline a protocol for parental notification when seclusion and restraint is used, use standard definitions for common seclusion and restraint measures and puts for the intent that all students should be treated with dignity and respect in schools. 

SB 345 was heard in the Senate Education Committee last week and will receive a vote in that committee on Wednesday, February 13thContact members of the Senate Education Committee and request their support of SB 345. Please do this today while it is on your mind and you are fired up about it!

Here is the list of Senators on the Education Committee:

Senator Dennis Kruse  s14@iga.in.gov

Senator Earline Rogers  s3@in.gov

Senator Carlin Yoder  s12@in.gov

Senator Jim Banks  Jim@JimBanks.us or s17@in.gov

Senator John Broden  s10@iga.in.gov

Senator James Buck  s21@in.gov

Senator Luke Kenley  s20@in.gov

-Senator Jean Leising  s42@in.gov

Senator Pete Miller  sen.petemiller@iga.in.gov

Senator Frank Mrvan  s1@in.gov

Senator Scott Schneider  s30@in.gov

Senator Greg Taylor  s33@in.gov

“We hear all too often of horrible incidents regarding the use of seclusion and restraints when used as a disciplinary measure, used without proper training and used as a first recourse.” Says Kim Dodson of the Arc of Indiana in a recent legislative alert on this topic.

Please do not let this happen to one more child in our state. Take positive action today!