Restraint with compassion

20th September 2013 at 01:00

The debate concerning the use of restraint ("Can schools justify the use of physical force?", Professional, 6 September) is complex in terms of ethics, motives and long-term outcomes.

I worked previously as head of education at a centre for students with extreme autism, very challenging behaviour and significant learning difficulties. Secure restraint was not a punishment but part of an agreed programme of positive change that reduced the risk of adverse behaviour and self harm. It was used to protect the student, their peers and staff, and was closely monitored, debated and assessed. During my tenure, the team had 100 per cent success in reintegrating students into specialist provision units.

What is harder to measure is the emotional and physical damage to staff who dedicate their careers to these deserving learners when using approved techniques with compassion and diligence.

Dr Len Parkyn, Horam, East Sussex.

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