437 S Yellowstone Dr Ste 217A, Madison, WI 53705 info@autismsouthcentral.org (608) 630-9147

Action Alert: Seclusion and Restraint Hearing Dec. 19th 9:30 am

Action Alert:

The Assembly Committee of Education is holding a hearing on Dec. 19th at 9:30am in 417 North at the State Capitol in Madison. AB 585 are the changes to the Seclusion and Restraint Law. Please join advocacy organizations and families to testify at the hearing on the important common-sense changes that will require better parent notification when an incident happens and greater transparency on the use of use in school districts across the state. These are simple changes to the already existing law:

•Require that restraint and seclusion data be reported to DPI as well as school boards.
•Require schools to provide written incident report to parents.
•Change the requirement that IEP teams meet after the first incident to after the second incident.
•Require that the principal meet with the staff who participated in the incident to debrief to discuss ways to prevent in the future.
•Explicitly prohibit prone restraint
•Specify that the restraint and seclusion law apply also to students who are district-placed into private schools
•Update the training requirements for an increased focus on de-escalation and remove the requirement (but not prohibit) the teaching of “hands-on” techniques.

Help us by testifying on these important changes that may help reduce the use of seclusion and restraint on students in Wisconsin schools. If you can’t attend you can send your testimony to the committee clerk, Katie.Scott@legis.wisconsin.gov

Madison Fit Families: study about physical activity for the whole family

Dr. Luis Columna at UW-Madison has a research study for families with a child aged 5-11 with autism spectrum disorder. Here is information about the study in case your family is interested: 

Do you have a child aged 5-11 with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? Do you want to learn ways to promote physical activity for your entire family?
You are invited to participate in a research study in which you will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group will receive written physical activity ideas and physical activity equipment to promote physical activity for the entire
family. Another group will be wait-listed and receive the same information at a later date. The last group will receive the same written physical activity ideas and physical activity equipment but will also be invited to participate in four half-day workshops on inclusive recreation including:
• Sensory Motor Activities
• Communication
• Swimming
• Physical Activity and Sports
All families will participate in a pre-program interview (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes); parent and children questionnaires; measurements of physical activity; measurements of height and weight; gait performance; a physical activity program (no more than three hours per session), a postprogram interview, and family questionnaires (Approximately two hours).
All of the participating families will receive FREE physical activity
equipment (e.g., balls, cones, etc.) that they can use with their children with ASD and their entire family.
Participation in this physical activity program will occur during the months of February, March, April, and May of 2020 in the Natatorium at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Participants will be expected to participate in a brief follow up session in the fall of 2020.
This program is FREE. For more information please contact Dr. Luis Columna at lcolumna@wisc.edu or (608) 890-2916.
The specific dates of the program will be provided to aid your decision to participate. Space is limited, so please complete the
online application at http://bit.ly/UWFitFamilies

UWM-ff-rec-flyer

UW-Madison Research Study for Families

A lab at the Waisman Center is conducting a research study on Family Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are currently recruiting married parents who have a child with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 5-15. They are hoping that information from this study will help them understand the experiences of families who have a child on the autism spectrum in order to identify the processes and supports that promote healthy development and well-being in all family members.

Time-5-ASD-Flyer

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick: Wisconsin’s seclusion and restraint law needs improvements

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, who is one of our board members and chair of our advocacy committee, wrote a column in the Cap Times about this important issue. The text of his column is below:

By Jeff Spitzer-Resnick | guest columnist Nov 21, 2019

After 12 years of effort, advocates, families and victims of the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint on Wisconsin school children celebrated when Act 125 was passed unanimously by Wisconsin’s Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Walker, taking effect in 2012.

Although many of us who worked so hard for so long to pass this bill celebrated — and I still have Gov. Walker’s pen from the bill signing as a memento — we knew at the time that, due to necessary compromises which were made in order to achieve legislative passage, the bill was less than ideal.

Since Wisconsin’s seclusion and restraint law went into effect, we have learned a lot about the use of these aversive techniques on Wisconsin’s schoolchildren. We now have an answer that had previously eluded us as to how many children are victims of these techniques, and sadly, we know those numbers are in the thousands. We also know that due to some flaws in the original legislation, we have been stymied in making more progress in reducing the use of these aversive techniques in favor of positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS).

From my own vantage point, not a day has gone by since the passage of Act 125 when I do not have clients who have suffered under the use of seclusion and restraints, and a significant number of those clients are on the autism spectrum. Moreover, parents continue to wonder whether there are better and safer places to send their children, who are victims of these aversive techniques, to school.

That is why, on behalf of the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin, in my role as advocacy chair, I urge the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 527, which addresses some of the critical flaws in Act 125, as follows:

• Requires that seclusion rooms cannot have a lock on the door;

• Bans the use of prone restraints on school children, as they are potentially lethal;

• Improves the mandatory training requirements for those authorized to use physical restraints on school children to require: a) evidence-based instruction on PBIS, b) evidence-based techniques shown to prevent or reduce the use of restraints, and (c) the ability to identify prohibited restraint techniques;

• Adds law enforcement officers who use seclusion or restraint in a school building to those who must meet the notice and reporting requirements under the law;

• Requires the school principal to meet with those who participated in the incident to discuss the events that occurred before, during and after the use of seclusion or restraint and how to prevent the need for its use in the future;

• Applies the notice, reporting and debriefing requirements to private school students if public school students have placed the child there; and

• Requires school districts to provide their annual seclusion and restraint data to the Department of Public Instruction, and to disaggregate that data to identify the number of incidents that involve children with disabilities.

Taken together, the provisions in this bill will hopefully reduce the use of seclusion and restraint, make its use safer when it is used, and provide greater transparency to the public about its use. This transparency will not only help parents make better decisions about where to send their children to school, but it will provide opportunities for school districts and DPI to identify areas where schools are struggling by overusing these aversive techniques and can learn from schools who have successfully learned how to use PBIS instead of seclusion and restraint.

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick is a public interest civil rights lawyer in Madison and advocacy chair of the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin. This piece was first published on his website: Systems Change Consulting.

link to the article

Action Alert Seclusion and Restraint Hearing Nov. 19th 10am

Action Alert:

The Senate Education Committee is holding a hearing on Nov. 19th at 10am at the Capitol on SB 527- Changes to the Seclusion and Restraint Law.  Please join advocacy organizations and  families to testify at the hearing on the important common-sense changes that will require better parent notification when an incident happens and greater transparency on the use of use in school districts across the state.  These are simple changes to the already existing law:

  • Require that restraint and seclusion data be reported to DPI as well as school boards (under current law, only school boards receive the data)
  • Require schools to provide written incident report to parents, (current law only requires that parents be notified that the report exists)
  • Change the requirement that IEP teams meet after the first incident to after the second incident.
  • Require that the principal meet with the staff who participated in the incident to debrief to discuss ways to prevent in the future.
  • Explicitly prohibit prone restraint
  • Specify that the restraint and seclusion law apply also to students who are district-placed into private schools
  • Update the training requirements for an increased focus on de-escalation and remove the requirement (but not prohibit) the teaching of “hands-on” techniques.

Help us by testifying on these important changes that may help reduce the use of seclusion and restraint on students in Wisconsin schools.  If you aren’t able to attend you can send your testimony to the committee clerk, Jenna.Zantow@legis.wisconsin.gov. It would be good to have families in the room even if they don’t plan to testify.  But, we would like families to testify. 

Autism Goes to College: film on October 30th

Madison College will be showing a film called Autism Goes to College on October 30th from 1:00pm-3pm at the Madison College Truax campus, Room D1630.

Autism Goes to College is a first of its kind film, packed with honest insights for students, parents and educators offering an eye-opening look at what a growing number of neurodiverse students are bringing to campus. A question and answer Skype session with Dr. Jan Blacher will follow the 65 minute film.

If you are interested in attended, please let Claire Miller at Madison College Disability Resources know at  clmiller8@madisoncollege.edu.

2019 Jacob Trotter Memorial Scholarship Winners

The Jacob Trotter Memorial Scholarship gives a scholarship of $500 to a student on the autism spectrum. It is funded by David and Greta Menke of Bristol, Wisconsin, in memory of their grandson Jacob David Trotter. Jacob Trotter was born June 25, 2001, in Madison, WI, and died unexpectedly at home on September 25, 2014. He was a student at Lodi Middle School in Lodi, WI. He was the light of his parents’ and grandparents’ lives. Jacob was an avid history buff. His favorite topics were Civil War, WWII, European Theater, and WWII Reenactments.

This year the Education Committee successfully applied to the board to award two Jacob Trotter Memorial Scholarships, because there were two such deserving applicants, Benjamin Carter and Sydney Whiting.

Benjamin Carter, of Madison, started his college career at Shepherd’s College in Union Grove this semester, where he is majoring in horticulture. Sydney Whiting, of McFarland, is in her second year at Madison College, pursuing a degree in Liberal Arts. She has been on the Dean’s List twice. Congratulations, Ben and Sydney!

Volunteer Spotlight: Library Donations Over the Years

Char Brandl has done so much for the ASC over the years! Thank you, Char, for everything you’ve done, and thank you for writing about our library donations!

Contributed by Char Brandl 

One of the ongoing activities of the Education Committee of the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin has been an annual donation of relevant materials to our area libraries.

Our service area is covered by an impressive network of three library systems:  South Central, Southwest, and Arrowhead. For well over 10 years now, thanks to donations from various individuals and the Autism South Central board of directors, we have been donating books, videos, and more recently audio books related to autism.

As with just about everything we do, we have tried to include materials of interest across the spectrum, and across the lifespan.  As the years have gone by, there are more and more outstanding resources out there to help parents of the newly diagnosed, as well as adults who may be thinking of a personal diagnosis for themselves or a partner.  Add to this materials to help teachers, grandparents, family and friends, plus information on various interventions and therapies – all of which are an important part of the autism experience. Some of the most valuable are the books written by those on the spectrum – those with Aspergers as well as those who are non-speaking and who rely on typing to communicate.

For me personally it has been a perfect fit.  I love books, I love libraries, and I love being able to help people better understand autism, and find ways to support their loved ones.  

I was on the board of directors for several years, and served as secretary for most of that time.  My very favorite contribution to our organization has been helping to stock the area libraries with materials that we hope will be beneficial.

A huge added bonus to this task has been interacting with those who work at our many libraries, and those who so willingly deliver the materials across our service area.  In earlier years, I personally drove to the communities of Prairie du Chien, Portage, Milton, Clinton, Lodi, Fennimore, Beloit and many, many others. What a beautiful part of the state this is, and what wonderful people we serve in this way!

The task became much easier once I discovered the inter-library delivery service that has its home in Madison.  I no longer make those long trips through the beautiful countryside – and I really do miss that! But it is fun working with the dedicated folks who pack, sort and deliver books, and all other library materials, throughout our part of the state.  

Please do check out the lists of donated materials, please do look into materials that might be of help to you, and please do let us know if there are items you would like to recommend.  Keep in mind that the libraries do a great job of keeping their web sites up to date, and are all very willing to share materials among the various library systems. Just ask your local librarian and they will be happy to help you find what you may be looking for!

Waisman Center recruiting autistic boys for a study

The Waisman Center is recruiting boys with fragile X syndrome and boys with autism spectrum disorder between 9 and 18 years old for a research study. Info below:

online-posting

MRI-FXS-ASD-brochure-7-6-18

Waisman Center Opportunity for Families

We received this opportunity from the Waisman Center to pass on to families:

Mentor Family for the Wisconsin Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (WI LEND) Program

Three quick questions:

  • Are you a family member of a child, adolescent or young adult with a
    developmental disability?  
  • Would you like to help future professionals learn more about families’ experiences raising a child with a neurodevelopmental or related disability?
  • Are you interested in an opportunity to influence future systems of care for all children and youth with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities by meeting with a pair of future professionals 4 times over about 4 months?

If you answered yes to all three questions consider being a LEND Mentor Family!

What:  The WI LEND program is an interactive leadership training program for professionals, family members and self-advocates who will work with individuals with developmental disabilities.  An important part of LEND training is the Family Mentor experience. In the Family Mentor experience, a pair of LEND trainees is matched with a family of a child with disabilities. The trainees and Mentor Family meet four times over about four months allowing the trainee to learn directly from families of children with disabilities what it is like to raise a child with disabilities.

Mentor Families are expected to meet four times with their pair of trainees:

  • Invite your trainees into your home (First Visit)
  • Include your trainees in activities your family does outside your home; such as, school related visits, doctor or therapy appointments, sports or community outings, family events, restaurants, parks, etc. (Second and Third Visits)
  • Wrap-up the Family Mentor experience with your trainees (Fourth Visit)
  • Be willing to answer questions from your LEND trainees throughout all the Family Mentor experience.

When: The LEND Program takes place during the 9-month academic year (late August-early May.)  We try to have all trainees meet with their Mentor Families between late September and January.

Where: your home and community

Why: The Family Mentor experience allows future professionals to gain insights into the families’ perspective by hearing about and participating in families’ lived experiences and asking questions they may not otherwise get to ask. Trainees learn about the need to understand families’ experiences, what’s important to families’, what works well for families and what doesn’t, and what they as professionals can do to help improve the systems of care families rely on.

The Waisman Center offers financial support (stipend) to qualifying Mentor Families. The stipend is intended to offset expenses you might have that relate to being a Mentor Family for the LEND training program; i.e., outings, transportation.  The typical stipend is $200.

Visit our website for further information: http://www.waisman.wisc.edu/mchlend/ 

If you are interested in being a LEND Mentor Family or have any questions please email Sandy Tierney or stierney@wisc.edu.