Mother's seclusion room plan for son: 'It's more of a choice to go into it'

BEAVERTON, Ore. - A Beaverton mother who was unaware that her 8-year-old son was put into a seclusion room during the last school year says this year will be different.

Martha LaMarche says if teachers put her autistic son, Will, into a seclusion room they will tell her immediately. She helped create a detailed behavior plan that includes a seclusion room as a last resort.

Last Spring, LaMarche said Will was put into the room because he was biting, scratching and hitting teachers. She was surprised to learn her son had been put in the same room before and more than just a few times.

She contacted KATU in April.

Since that time, LaMarche said she and her son's new school created a list of ways to manage Will's autism. It's a plan she feels comfortable with because she says the seclusion room at Will's school will not be used as a punishment.

"He's now going to a new school and that room is used in a different way," said LaMarche. "It's more of a choice to go into it."

LaMarche bought some supplies for school that she says will help soothe Will when he gets frustrated and struggles to communicate. She says Will's new school has a padded seclusion room.

"I agree that children need a quiet space that's soft and safe. And if they can communicate a way to go into that room then that's their choice. And that's not a punishment room."

A Beaverton School District spokesperson told KATU that making individual behavior plans for all of its students is a priority.