Posted in: Education

Autistic Boy Injured During Body Sock Incident

body sock

Columbus, OH – An autistic boy was injured after teachers at his Ohio school used a restraint device known as a body sock on him. Naqis Cochran, 10, was placed in the device without permission, according to the family.

The body sock was allegedly used on the autistic boy because he would not stop laughing during class. Naqis Cochran is a student at the South Mifflin Elementary School. The Teacher supposedly felt that spending some time in the body sock would help calm Cochran down.

The restraint device is made of a stretchy purple Lycra material. The boy told his mother that he remembers the teacher helping him step into the body sock and having his arms, legs, and head zipped inside. The next thing the Ohio autistic boy remembers is falling on his face and having his tooth knocked out. Naqis reportedly underwent two emergency root canals, but is doing fine now.

The South Mifflin Elementary School teacher reportedly noted in a statement about the body sock incident that she told the student to stop moving, and that is when he fell down and knocked out his front tooth.

Cochran’s parents maintain that they never authorized the use of a body sock on their child. When the family asked for an incident report about the body sock injury, the Columbus City Schools principal allegedly stated that no such document had been filed.

During an interview with NBC4, the autistic boy’s mother had this to say:

“No reports and the principal doesn’t report it and there is no emergency squad called. There things are very serious to us and our family and when we look at that, we called Children Services and filed a police report.

When the boy was taken to the hospital to care for his body sock injury, the mother recalled thinking that something just didn’t “feel right” about the scenario. She maintains that her child is not violent and would even find it difficult to defend himself. The Ohio mother feels that her special needs child was taken advantage of during the incident.

autism

Naqis Cochran’s IEP (individual education plan) reportedly does not include any process for restraint usage or even address the need to be restrained. Both the teacher who placed the autistic boy inside the body sock and the building principal have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.

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What do you think about the autistic boy being placed inside a body sock without his parents’ permission?

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Comments

42 Responses to “Autistic Boy Injured During Body Sock Incident”

  1. Anne Dachel

    News video: "The problem is, the parents did not approve the use of a body sock."

    No, the problem is, our schools are having to deal with increasing numbers of children with developmental/learning problems and no one is able to tell us why. In the last 20 years, more and more children have conditions like ADD, ADHD, autism and other neurological problems. One in every 50 children now has autism, and among boys alone, it's one in 30. One in every six kids has a learning problem.

    Why are terms like seclusion room, restraints, and body sock used in our schools? Why are there so many stories about special needs kids being bullied, abused, and neglected in our schools? Why do teachers today have to be taught how to deal with students who can't speak, can't learn, and can't behave?

    We need to get serious about addressing what's happening to the health of our children.

    Anne Dachel, Age of Autism.

  2. Wanda Leach Cradlebaugh

    Maybe the teacher should have asked the child what was funny. Apparently the child is verbal. Autism appears epidemic in proportion. The teacher and the school are responsible for following the IEP when dealing with special needs children. The IEP addresses the specific needs of the child.

  3. Elizabethclaralisabetsyliz Welter-Vesely

    Most teachers are not trained to apply positive disciplinary techniques that work. Rather than admit their program is not equipped to provide a proper education they avoid documenting incidents like this and try to blame the child. Often children on the Autism spectrum simply do not respond to typical discipline or ABA techniques. Alot of people believe that is all there is. Some kids simply rebel against it and so the more they try to control, the more the child grows aggressive in school even if they are not at home ever aggressive. When a teacher's emotions are so out of whack that they cannot handle it then they need to admit it and get a new job!

  4. Vicki Brumback

    This is what happens when teachers are not trained on helping children with disabilities. Restraining a student is not the answer. The teacher and the principal need to be placed in the body sock.

  5. Bree Hoffman CcHt

    The body sock is not a restraint device, but rather a sensory tool to give a person desired sensory input. It can be used to calm a child with sensory issues and is often recommended by an Occupational Therapist. He shouldn't have been trying to walk. That's how he must have fallen. Like any other tool proper supervision should be observed.

  6. Christy Maney Koury

    The boy has a neurological condition, and he wouldn't stop laughing. Did it not occur to anyone that he might be having a gelastic seizure? Epilepsy is commonly co-morbid with autism spectrum disorders. Surely the teachers, who are trained to work with special needs children, know this. So why in the world would they address uncontrolled laughter as a behavior issue without first consulting with the family to see if the child might be developing gelastic seizures?

  7. Pauline Haman Stark

    The problem is they don't have enough teachers to handle the special needs population. Most special needs children require an aid with them. When a teacher is dealing with 25-30 children, having even one special needs makes it impossible to control a classroom. Unfortunately the public school's answer is to put the special needs kids in behavior problem children…one which usually makes a child much worse…as it did my son :( But this was over 20 years ago and they had absolutely NO idea what they were doing and usually just ostracized and label children.

  8. Lyz Kono

    I understand at times people with special needs do need to be restrained. However, it is usually in their IEPs and must be agreed upon as a course of action. I worked with children aged 4-21. The only time we were allowed to restrain a child is when they were a danger to themselves or others. This teacher was completely in the wrong. The principal should have taken action and reported the incident and should have documented it and the parents should have been immediately notified. Laughing is not a danger to anyone! I'm glad the teacher and the principal have been suspended and I hope they are fired and are no longer able to work in a classroom or at any school under any function for that matter. My heart goes out to the family and especially Naqis. I seriously hope this incident does not scar him emotionally.

  9. Crystal Anne

    So it's completely unacceptable to give another person prescribed medication that is not for them, but somehow it's totally okay to use an OT perescribed item on another person that was not for them? Seems rather illegal to me. Children with Autism are known to laugh repeatedly at times. It happens. The problem is not that his parents didn't authorize the use of this, the problem is this kind of crap is being used at all. I think covering a child in this 'body sock' from head to toe is very unsafe and apparently he was unable to successfully use his instinctual reflexes to stop his face from hitting the floor. I hope the parents take legal action because of this. Hopefully that would stop future incidences like this one from happening again. I am sooooo sick and tired of seeing children with disabilities being abused, used, taken advantage of and treated with utter disrespect. I am so disgusted with the school systems and their inablitiy to properly care for our children.

  10. Lynda Schwandt Moore

    We don't know that it was, Amanda. Did the reporter come up with the term "restraint device" or the school?

  11. Diann Stotler-Bishop

    put them both in a casket and close it for about an hour and see how they like being restrained in anything

  12. Lynda Schwandt Moore

    Agree! We don't know for sure that restraint was the goal here. Accidents happen…even with supervision! Can't tell you how many times my son fell over the years while wearing his body sock. For some reason, he always insisted on going into the uncarpeted kitchen. grrrr

  13. Lynda Schwandt Moore

    A body sock is a sensory tool and can/does help calm laughter.
    We don't know for sure that restraint was the goal here.

  14. Sherri Lynn Duncan

    As someone noted earlier, the body sock is for sensory integration therapy and should only be used with adult supervision- namely someone who is trained on exactly how to properly use it. Most aides and even some early intervention specialists lack this type of fundamental training- it is usually reserved for an OT. No child should be placed in a body sock to restrain them. This is barbaric treatment, and now an innocent child has been physically injured and emotionally scared. I hope that the parents take swift legal action against the school district and the teacher. This type of mistreatment has to stop!

  15. Sophie Lunt

    Saying people with autism "can't learn" is unbelievably ableist. We may be challenging, but we are people, not a worthless burden.

  16. Sue Michau

    I had a neurologist tell me what I reported as grand mal she believed were panic attacks. Just goes to show you. She wasn't there and if any of the incidents were panic attacks, they didn't remain so, and I don't believe any but one of them might have STARTED as a panic attack but definitely became a grand mal seizure. She had never seen my son before and was getting secondhand reports. The whole ER seemed on her page. Then my son went into another grand mal and I waltzed around the corner and grabbed the head nurse and he took one look and said oh sh……! The look on his face told me he had been blowing me off the whole evening. Then he ordered a catscan. Not the best impression of this hospital in another city….

  17. Lynda Schwandt Moore

    We don't know for sure that restraint was the goal here!

  18. Lynda Schwandt Moore

    A body sock is sensory tool that can/does help calm…even laughter. We don't know for sure that restraint was the goal here.

  19. Crystal Anne

    Gotta calm that dangerous, threatning laughter. I understand it can be a distraction, but other methods can certainly be implemented.

  20. Erica Gartner

    Exactly! I can't believe nobody's picking up on that? It's a sensory tool, not a "restraint device!" If the child was having a hard time settling down, the input from the body sock would have been a possible tool to help him!

  21. Erica Gartner

    That's a silly response. In class, special ed included, they're teaching appropriate behavior as well as skills. If they are laughing excessively, they're likely having trouble focusing. Occupational therapy (including that with a body sock) often helps bring the kids back in. It's not a punishment. Children with extra sensory needs often find it stimulating. Yes, it does pose the risk of accidents like this, which is why close supervision is required, but all the same, accidents DO happen.

  22. Erica Gartner

    Right? I don't really see how this story is lining up that way. The teacher decided to "restrain" the child because he was laughing? Highly unlikely.

  23. Brenda Cameron

    I think the teacher needs to spend some time in the sock! This is discusting…I have a son with dissabilities and I would sue if someone did this to him!

  24. Erica Gartner

    Medication is not the same as a BODY SOCK. As a special ed teacher, she is there to take care of these special needs kids using different tactics than you would in a traditional classroom. A lot of occupational therapy is trial and error. Some things take well to some children where others don't. It's part of their job to see what works best for each child. There are body socks, therapy swings, all kinds of things. They don't sit there and list each tool on the IEP and whether or not it can be used for occupational therapy. Granted, if it had already been tried and the result was undesirable, it can be requested to be put on the IEP not to be used, but as a general rule, no they do not list everything tool the teacher may or may not use to facilitate a student's success in the classroom.

  25. Erica Gartner

    Medication is not the same as a BODY SOCK. As a special ed teacher, she is there to take care of these special needs kids using different tactics than you would in a traditional classroom. A lot of occupational therapy is trial and error. Some things take well to some children where others don't. It's part of their job to see what works best for each child. There are body socks, therapy swings, all kinds of things. They don't sit there and list each tool on the IEP and whether or not it can be used for occupational therapy. Granted, if it had already been tried and the result was undesirable, it can be requested to be put on the IEP not to be used, but as a general rule, no they do not list everything tool the teacher may or may not use to facilitate a student's success in the classroom.

  26. Linda M. Lindsay

    I can not believe that people are actually defending what was done to this poor child. Bottom line there was nothing in his IEP saying they had the authority to do any behavioral modifications. The school was right to suspend the teacher and the principal. I would take legal action as well, not for the money but to make them accountable for their actions. To much of this is happening and it has to STOP!!! I wish the family all the best and pray for the strength the will need to fight

  27. Linda M. Lindsay

    I can not believe that people are actually defending what was done to this poor child. Bottom line there was nothing in his IEP saying they had the authority to do any behavioral modifications. The school was right to suspend the teacher and the principal. I would take legal action as well, not for the money but to make them accountable for their actions. To much of this is happening and it has to STOP!!! I wish the family all the best and pray for the strength the will need to fight

  28. Mila 'mimi' Green

    Unfortunately if it is an inclusion class the general Ed teacher does not have special training in dealing with children with sleaxkl needs. In some state the inclusion teacher is not even required to be there the whole period with the child and due to shortages often split time between multiple classes in one period

  29. Mila 'mimi' Green

    What about the poor teachers who are not given what they need to deal with these children. I'm not defending her but i do feel that she should have had some assistance in knowing how to deal with his behavior issued

  30. David Allan Farrell-Shaw

    Spot on – would you put an animal in one of these? No you wouldn't in case it was injured by panicking. Where is the proof that a bodysock works? The old adage "if you have met one person with autism you have met one person with autism" applies. Sensory needs are different for each individual – how did the teacher know it would work – most Occ Therapists I have met don't have a clue about how to deal with autistic kids.

  31. Tammy Burstedt

    As a parent of two special needs children I can tell you that the school had BETTER tell me of all tools being used with my child. How dare you say or imply that this is ok. A BODY SOCK is NOT the same thing as a swing. The parents SHOULD have been asked if this could be used first. The problem here is that a lot of parents do not know their children's rights. I did not stop being my child's parent and give any school personnel that role at the beginning of the school year.

  32. Tammy Burstedt

    I find it amazing that some people are so quick to justify this. Frankly, if a teacher thought this child needed this body sock – the first thing they should have done is called the parents and set up an IEP meeting with the team. Period. Whether this was used as a restraint (likely as it was used in the immediate instead of consulting with parents and the team as to the benefits of such use) or not is rather irrelevant. The proper procedures were ignored here, and a child was injured. What gives anyone the right to use something like this on a child without parental consent? A swing..a child can get out of if he/she is feeling scared. A body sock zipped up from the outside..no not confining at all. Little rooms where kids are placed, electric shock, straight jackets, duck tape…..just a few of the things I have seen in the news…..give me a brake. If you don't want to work with these children…don't. And don't try to justify someone breaking the rules. Makes you look really really bad.

  33. Lyz Kono

    Um its a given Naqis has trouble focusing. And its possible that laughter is his stem. However, if it was not in his IEP it was a wrong course of action. The sock is a SENSORY tool. Not a restraint. And yes there are behavioral methods that could have been employed to handle the matter.

  34. Renee Dalheim

    Body Socks are not restraint items. They are used for therapy. I wonder how many of you people spouting off about this have a child in the Autism Spectrum. Did they use the Sock properly, NO! the head is never to be zipped in the Sock. Do we know if the child tucked his head inside the sock by accident? This WHOLE article is IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM. Shame on all of you for assuming. My son is in OT and they use body socks all the time. In fact he loves it, he wants to be in it all the time. Please research these stories before you comment.

  35. Vicki Brumback

    A restraint in the DD world is any type of intervention used that the person with the disability is unable apply or remove on his or her own. A sensory item or tool can be come a restraint if the individual resists the intervention and it is forced upon them without a formal plan approved by the team human rights and behavior supports commitees, could be considered an unapproved behavior support, a right violation, or abuse or neglect if harm is inflicted by self or others as a result of such intervention. I have worked in this field for over ten years and there are rules and guidelines to keep people safe. Aversive Behavior interventions should not be used unless the individual is causing harm to self or others. Laighing may cause disruption but does not harm anyone. As for the body sock being used as sensory tool, everyone should be trained in its use and not used as a consequence in order to achieve desired behavior. The use needed to be directly monitored if there is risk of injury due to its use. Risks should be discussed with the team and family before any sensory stim tool is used and when it is to be used.