Calm Down ... or Else

child, school, studentFor more than a decade, parents of children with developmental and psychiatric problems have pushed for their children to gain more access to mainstream schools. One unfortunate side-effect may be schools resorting to forceful methods to control behavior; takedowns, isolation rooms, restraining chairs with straps, and worse have all been reported.

In 2007, the public system served 600,000 more special education students than it did a decade ago. Many staff members are not adequately trained to handle severe behavior problems.

In April of this year, a 9-year-old Montreal boy with autism died of suffocation when a special education teacher wrapped him in a weighted blanket to calm him. Two Michigan public school students with autism have died while being held on the ground in what is known as prone restraint.

Federal law leaves it to states and school districts to decide when physical restraints and seclusion are appropriate, and standards vary widely. Oversight is often nonexistent, despite great potential for harm and little evidence of benefit.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
How to best handle special needs children in the classroom is a highly controversial issue among educators. Clearly, holding a child down to the point of suffocation is pure abuse, even if it was unintentional. But restraining an unruly child that is endangering a classroom full of students, well that is where the issue gets foggy for many.

The New York Times article mentions the case of one boy who was not restrained, who then ran away from the school and drowned. Still, “takedowns, isolation rooms and restraining chairs with straps” sound more like methods used in a high-security prison, not a public school.

At the heart of the controversy is the fact that many of these children with developmental and psychiatric problems do not understand why they are being subdued, and only become more frightened and combative as a result. And if they were hurt, some of them do not have the communication skills to tell anyone.

When “Managing Behavior” Goes Too Far

Aside from physical restraint, many kids are being subdued using powerful mind-altering drugs. In the U.S. foster care system, kids as young as 2 and 3 are given drugs that act on your central nervous system, reducing your mobility and acting like, as one former pharmaceutical rep put it, “a chemical straightjacket.”

These children may have any number of formal diagnoses, ranging from ADHD to autism to the ambiguous behavioral disorders and emotional disturbances.

It’s all irrelevant though, as no child that young should be put on mind-altering drugs, period.

So when you hear stories like this one from the New York Times, it does bring up some disturbing thoughts. Like if physical restraint becomes acceptable, what’s next? Will it be acceptable to give children mind-altering drugs when they become disruptive in the classroom? Or will teachers be outfitted with tranquilizer guns to quickly “calm” an overzealous first grader? Will public schools become nothing more than holding pens for drugged up pseudo-children?

I’m only half-joking here.

Kids are already being drugged for normal “kid” behaviors: fidgeting, speaking out of turn, not wanting to sit still, and being hyper. And there are numerous allegations of 2- and 3-year-olds in foster care systems being drugged for behavioral and emotional problems.

Correcting Behavioral Problems Without Force or Drugs

You might be surprised to find out that many behavioral problems in children are very frequently related to improper diet, emotional upset and exposure to toxins. Therefore addressing these root causes is often enough to greatly help the child. I realize there are cases when a child with a mental or emotional disturbance may need to be restrained for their own safety … but I believe these are the rare exception, not the rule.

To address the underlying toxins that may be causing behavior or emotional problems in your child -- without resorting to drugs or force:

1. Give your child plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil.

2. Balance your child’s intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats (from vegetables oils), by limiting their intake of vegetable oils.

3. Avoid giving your child ANY processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

4. Replace soft drinks, fruit juices, and pasteurized milk in your child’s diet with pure water. This is HUGE since high fructose corn syrup is the NUMBER ONE source of calories in children -- remember this includes fruit juices!

5. Reduce or eliminate grains and sugars from your child’s diet -- yes even healthy organic whole grains can cause problems. Try eliminating them first for 1-2 weeks and see if you notice a radical and amazing improvement in your child’s behavior.

6. Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise and outdoor playtime in the sunshine.

7. Give your child a way to deal with his or her emotions. Even children can benefit from the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which you or an EFT practitioner can teach them how to use.

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