Do Seclusion & Restraints Effect Children at School?​

School can be a very scary place to a child with attachment and trauma disorders. Such children tend to have social, emotional, and developmental delays that cause problems in negotiating social situations, determining whom they can trust, and identifying which person in the school could cause them harm. Developing secure relationships at school allows the child to feel safe and thus access deeper issues needing to be addressed in therapy. When I work with a child who continues to do everything possible to avoid school, I look to identify possible trauma triggers that I could be missing. I have recently learned some families are not being informed when seclusion and restraint are used with their children in school. When a child’s parents are not informed of their perceived traumatic experiences, the family is not able to make sense of the child’s behavior, the child remains in fight, flight, or freeze, and the attachment between the parent and child is strained and possibly nonexistent.


It has been about six years, until this past month, that I last heard of a child from my clinic being restrained or secluded at school. When the child was restrained six years ago, the school and I corresponded with a few emails and a school meeting. The school made changes and the child no longer felt threatened. The school’s response was amazing. They looked into the child’s triggers. He soon felt understood. School became safe and he was finally able to build relationships with teachers. Furthermore, his behavior and relationships with his parents drastically improved.