Physical Holds and Seclusion

What are Restrictive Procedures?

Restrictive procedures include physical holding and seclusion.

Physical holding means physical intervention intended to hold a child immobile or limit a child’s movement where body contact is the only source of physical restraint, and where immobilization is used to effectively gain control of a child in order to protect the child or other person from injury.

Physical holding does not mean physical contact that:
  • Helps a child respond or complete a task.
  • Assists a child without restricting the child’s movement.
  • Is needed to administer an authorized health-related service or procedure.
  • Is needed to physically escort a child when the child does not resist or the child’s resistance is minimal.
Seclusion is a situation in which a child is confined alone in a room and is prevented from leaving.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team Responsibilities

The IEP team has an obligation to address a child’s behavior through the implementation of positive behavior supports. The goal of the IEP team is to implement positive behavior strategies and to create an environment in which physical holding and seclusion are unnecessary.

If a restrictive procedure is used with a child, school personnel is required to notify the parent. If a restrictive procedure is used with a child on two separate days within a 30-day period, or if a pattern of use emerges, the IEP team must meet to review data, consider additional evaluation, revise the IEP or behavioral intervention plan (BIP) (when appropriate), and consider ways to reduce the use of restrictive procedures.

If the IEP team determines that the current interventions in place for the child are ineffective, or more than ten restrictive procedures have been used (in one school year), the school must consult with additional professionals (including experts in the field and culturally competent professionals), review existing evaluations, resources and successful strategies or consider whether to reevaluate the child.

School District Responsibilities

Restrictive procedures can only be used in emergency situations where immediate intervention is needed to protect the child or other individuals from physical injury. It should be avoided to the greatest extent possible without endangering the safety of the child or others.

Any school that intends to use restrictive procedures must maintain, and make publicly accessible, a restrictive procedures plan (RPP) for children with disabilities. The RPP outlines the district’s plan for using restrictive procedures, training the staff has received and positive behavior interventions that the school implements. The school’s RPP should be available in an electronic format on the school’s website or a paper copy available upon request.  

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