The use of restraint and seclusion in special education across Northern Ireland has been reported and experienced as an everyday harm to disabled and neuro-diverse children and young people, breaching children’s rights and undermining protections under disability legislation. Parents have reported obstacles to collaboratingwith schools on understanding and minimising the use of restrictive practices, which provoke distress behaviours and safeguarding concerns. Deirdre Shakespeare, parent advocate and campaigner, shares her son Harry’s story and having partnered with Adele Boyd, Independent Social Worker, the co-founding of Harry’s Law. Harry’s Law sets out a 10-point mandate requiring mandatory reporting and recording of any use of restrictive practices and trauma informed training. The outcome has been increased calls for the elimination of seclusion under any circumstances with children and young people, and the need for urgent reform of the ways in which schools and professionals support unmet needs of disabled and neuro-diverse children. Deirdre and Adele will present this journey of advocacy to ensure young people in special education thrive in rights-respecting, safe and nurturing educational settings.
Presented by – Deirdre Shakespeare and Adele Boyd.
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