This is what one school calls a “calming room”

That’s not a calming room.

That looks more like a padded cell to me.…

I want to talk a little about how “quiet rooms” have turned into de-facto isolation units within schools. [thread]
These rooms are often sold by schools as rooms where a pupil can go, in order to destress and unwind if they are in a stressful situation or find themselves becoming distressed. It conjures a picture of calm lighting and warm colours.

That is very rarely the case.
Most often, these rooms are effectively isolation units. They often have no other use than to as a place to put “disruptive” pupils, and many kids can be put in there for hours on end.
In my eyes, I don’t think it’s much different to solitary confinement, and we’re doing this in schools. To children.

I mean just think about that for a minute. We are using solitary confinement on CHILDREN.
Just going to quote directly here from the report;

“All three rooms at Whitefield School were poorly ventilated with doors that could not be opened from the inside, while two had no natural light and children were unable to see outside or hear clearly”
Does that sound calming to you?

It sounds bloody terrifying to me, to be quite honest with you.
Another quote;

‘"In a significant number of cases, pupils are placed in the rooms more frequently or for longer periods of time, as their behaviour worsens," the report said. It added there was no evidence parents had been told when their child had been placed in the room.’
Imagine that, you put a child into a padded cell for extended periods of time, and they start to get increasingly distressed.
Oh, this is also the same school where a teacher was sacked after a member of the public witnessed them kicking a 17 year old Autistic pupil on a school trip.

This place sounds absolutely horrifying.
But coming back to “calm rooms”, one of the big problems here is that there is no definition or regulation of what a calming room must be.

You can literally call anything a calming room. My schools calm room was a physics storeroom.
Yeah it wasn’t exactly calming. Another huge issue with these rooms, as the report makes clear, is that parents do not need to be told about their use. Kids can be put in there and the parents are none the wiser, as there’s no current obligation to inform them.
When designed properly and used properly, a facility that provides a calming sensory environment can be a huge benefit to pupils.

The reality is that, as it stands, this is NOT what’s happening. And it’s unacceptable this is being allowed to continue to happen.
This isn’t an isolated case. Almost every school in the country will have one of these rooms. They are almost standard now in schools. We have effectively allowed solitary confinement in padded cells to be utilised as a form of discipline and punishment.
It’s sickening.
This is also why we NEED #HarrysLaw , because it’s abundantly clear that these situations will continue to keep on happening, unless action is taken. Schools have repeatedly proven they are unable or unwilling to take the necessary steps.

@shakespeare_d @shaunagh_92

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More from @RyanHendry94

12 Oct
Actually I want to talk about something positive.

Just going to do a short thread here, talking about some of the good experiences I’ve had, during my time of being an Autistic Advocate.

I’ll kick off with this. Meeting Steve Silberman, which was a huge, huge honour. Image
This was at the 2019 @AsIAmIreland conference, where I was also a speaker. I also had the pleasure of meeting @NaturalistDara (and his mum!), and getting to speak to him about his book, which I’m delighted to see has went on to be a huge hit! Image
I also met the very tall @LifeOfIrwin who made me look even smaller than I usually am. Image
Read 17 tweets
12 Oct
Okay this morning I just found out about an Irish Autism “advocate” (using that term very loosely here), went on the Auti$m Speaks Podcast.

I have one question;


I mean, for starters, they don’t even (officially anyway) operate in Ireland.

Autism Speaks are a group I’ve never worked with, and never will work with. I don’t care how much they claim to have changed, Autism Speaks have done more damage to Autistic People than any other organisation ever has.
You painted Autistic People as a threat to humanity, and for a long time you portrayed us as an unspeakable horror that destroys families and akin to AIDS and Cancer.

You can’t fix that with a PR makeover.
Read 14 tweets
29 Sep
I want to talk today about “mate crime”, a specific form of disability hate crime.

I want to speak about it from the perspective as a victim of it, as I was a victim of it.

However, I only recognised that I was a victim of it very recently.
To set out some context, the events I’m about to described when I was between the ages of 16-18, and was still very much in the position of having no friends, so I was especially vulnerable to it.
To be honest I’ve tried to write this a few times now but I’ve stopped because I’m sort of ashamed but I figure I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.
Read 44 tweets
27 Sep
Okay this caught my attention today.

Question was asked by @GildernewColm , about whether the Department of Health in NI had any role in the Spectrum10K Study.

The answer has rather worried me.

#StopSpectrum10K #BoycottSpectrum10K @BoycottSpect10k Picture of a question asked...
Yes I accept the study has been paused, but the answer from the Department of Health has worried me.

Why the hell are they encouraging participation in this?! (Yes I know it says “should individuals wish to do so”)
I’m extremely, extremely concerned that the department of Health is getting involved in this. IMO, The Department of Health should have absolutely nothing to do with Spectrum 10K, and it’s things like this that make me worry.
Read 6 tweets
27 Sep
Hassaan’s thread is a good coverage of what driving can be like for an Autistic Person, and I’d just like to add on my perspective, this time from the ADHD angle. [thread]
Weirdly, I find that my Autism doesn’t have as much an effect on my driving as my ADHD does. Allow me to explain.
My license, for example. It is an Automatic license, as I found doing my driving test in a manual to be an absolute disaster.
Read 11 tweets
26 Sep
I know the Autism and Chicken Nuggets connection is a bit of a meme at this point, but it’s actually a pretty accurate meme, and I’ll quickly explain why.
It’s simple really; Consistency.

I know what I’m getting. 20 Nuggets from McDonalds will be the same, regardless of if I get them from the McDonalds in Carrickfergus, or the McDonalds in Singapore.
The texture will be consistent, the taste is consistent, the visuals are consistent.

Us Autistic People, we like consistency. Consistency is good.
Read 5 tweets

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