Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories

Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories (working title) is a new film by Dan Habib, Filmmaker at the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. In the film, Jino Medina, Brianna Hammon, Helena Stephenson and Peyton Goddard describe the restraint and seclusion they experienced while students in public schools, and the devastating physical and emotional injuries they suffered as a result. And Carolyn Medina and Wil Beaudoin describe how the restraint and seclusion their children endured had an impact on them as parents.

The film (27 minutes) is available free to the public through StopHurtingKids.com for training, professional development and public awareness. Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories was produced through a partnership of the National Center on Trauma Informed Care, TASH and the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability. Support for this film comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Featured in the Film

Brianna Hammon

Brianna Hammond

Brianna Hammon, 29, was first secluded and restrained at age 8, when she weighed just over 30 pounds. “I was 8 years old when they put me in a room built with a wooden chair bolted to the floor,” Brianna says in the film. “She locked us in there … I was so traumatized.” She was secluded again in middle school, and soon after she became politically active along with her mother, Deidre Hammon. When she was 16, Brianna and Diedre successfully advocated for a Nevada law that limits restraint to emergency situations and prohibits seclusion entirely.

Brianna is now the Librarian for the Center for Self Determination, where she works on two projects: the Library & Training Project and the Children’s Advocacy Project. She was Treasurer for the Reno Chapter of People First for 5 years, and is now a member of the Scream Room Subcommittee. This subcommittee is investigating the presence of closets that have been used to lock children in seclusion, and is working to have them torn out. She does training for capstone classes at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Watch her testimony to the Nevada Legislature in 2010, which helped restore $16 million in cuts to the developmental disabilities budget.

Peyton Goddard

Peyton Goddard

During two decades in special education classrooms, Peyton Goddard experienced aversive restraints, punitive seclusion and physical, mental and sexual abuse. Since she was non-verbal, she could not tell her parents of this abuse, but could express herself only through self-destructive behaviors – often explosive, aggressive and self-destructive. After finally learning to communicate through supported typing, Peyton requested a “real education” and became the first person using this technique to graduate valedictorian from a U.S. college (Cuyamaca College, 2002). Goddard, now 37, along with her mother, Dianne Goddard, and writer, Carol Cujec, tells her story in the recently published memoir, I Am Intelligent. She has been invited to deliver more than 75 presentations at conference and universities on the subject of “esteeming all people.” In 1995, she was awarded the Collaborative Advocacy Award from TASH, an international organization promoting inclusion and supported participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. In 2003, Peyton was awarded Cal-TASH’s annual Mary Falvey Outstanding Young Person Award. Learn more about Peyton Goddard at peytongoddard.com.

Carolyn and Jino Medina

Jino MedinaCarolyn MedinaJino Medina of Hesperia, Calif., was 10 years old in 2010, when he was first subjected to restraint and seclusion at his school. He was sometimes restrained two or three times a day, at times while in a seclusion room and with the use of a restraint harness. Jino suffered a brain injury during restraint at age 11, on October 27, 2011. Now 12, Jino is in a new school but is currently only attending one class because he continues to suffer from vision loss, absence seizures and other neurological injuries he suffered during restraint. A report from an independent education evaluation recommended extensive therapy and provisions to make up for lost education and trauma related needs. Jino and his mother, Carolyn, are vocal advocates for California efforts to restrict restraint and seclusion.

Wil and Andre Beaudoin

Wil BeaudoinWil Beaudoin of Cranston, R.I., is the father of Andre Beaudoin, now 22. Andre is non-verbal, and has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Delay – NOS, along with a severe anxiety disorder and low muscle tone. Andre’s family kept him home for as long as they were able, trying to address Andre’s occasional aggressive outbursts and self-injurious incidents. He attended the Bradley School in East Providence for approximately six years, and over that time Andre was restraint in only a few emergency situations. At age 15, the state of Rhode Island placed Andre in another group home and affiliated school, where he endured dozens of restraints, including prone restraints, over a three-month period. Once the family learned of the frequency of the restraints, and the resulting injuries to Andre, they removed him from this setting. Andre now lives in a community-based group home in Rhode Island. The home has an open door policy for parents. He has rarely been restrained in recent years.

Wil and his wife, Maren McBride-Beaudoin (a special education teacher), continue to advocate to reduce restraint and seclusion. Wil is also on a subcommittee of the Rhode Island Developmental Disability Council.

View a letter by Wil Beaudoin to U.S. Senator Jack Reed in 2008, and a response from the State of Rhode Island later that year.

Helena Stephenson

Helena StephensonHelena Stephenson, 24, of Newark, Ohio, excelled in school through seventh grade. She says she particularly thrived in history, “because of my photographic memory from my Asperger’s syndrome.” When she was 13, Helena’s family moved seven miles away to a new school district in Ohio. Helena started receiving frequent detentions for minor infractions, and the punitive discipline quickly escalated to restraint and seclusion. At one point, Helena says she spent 35 consecutive days in a small room in the basement of the school made of concrete, with a metal door padlocked from the outside. Following a particularly intense incident of physical restraint by the vice principal, Helena tried to commit suicide. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident, and for six months she didn’t leave her house. She never returned to that school.

Helena ultimately graduated with a GED from Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio. She attended Miller-Motte College in Wilmington, N.C., for Paralegal Studies but left college to devote more time to her son, Hayvyn, 5, who was diagnosed with Autism at age 2. Helena is now a certified domestic violence advocate and also works with families who are affected by Autism in the Appalachia region of Ohio. She particularly enjoys supporting teenagers newly diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and helping families write Individualized Education Plans.