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Ohio ACEs Action (OH)

The purpose of this group is to connect people and organizations in Ohio who are working to address issues related to trauma and ACEs

Hi everyone,

Steve asked me to post on here a little about myself and my advocacy work in Ohio and other areas.

I am Helena Stephenson, I am a Autism Self Activist and Mental Health Self Activist. I am also the Author of the book:

Dirty Little Secrets: Restraint and Seclusion in America's Schools


I tell my story as well as current students with disabilities across the United States in Public schools who have lived or died due to the archaic, abusive, and traumatizing Restraint and Seclusion practices happening everyday.

I also am the individual in March 2012 who went to the Ohio State Board of Education supported by Ohio Legal Rights Service (Disability Rights Ohio) and testified about how these traumatic sanctioned abusive practices impacted me and my classmates. The testimony ultimately resulted in the board passing Ohio's first ever Restraint and Seclusion Policy/Rule for Ohio schools.




Since 2012 I was in the Documentary by Dan Habib, Restraint and Seclusion Hear Our Stories, which can be viewed on the Stop hurting kids website and is a National campaign to end Restraint and Seclusion practices in our Nations schools.

I hope everyone will consider joining.


I attend conferences now and speak I will be attending the ACLU of Ohio conference in July 2014 to speak about Solitary Confinement of children and what can be done. I will also be attending the 2014 TASH conference in DC this December.

I try to do as many workshops in Ohio as possible and help children and parents know their rights and how to enforce them.

My life philosophy is that if you're not living to make someone else's life better then you are wasting your time.

I hope to collaborate more in Ohio with y'all!!

Best wishes,

Helena Stephenson

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Original Post

Thanks to Helena, Disability Rights Ohio and other advocates, a successful lawsuit is helping to address the problem of using seclusion and restraint in educational settings in Ohio. Another lawsuit seeks to address the common use of seclusion and restraint in Department of Youth Services institutions. Unfortunately, these efforts are isolated and fail to address the problem comprehensively across systems.

The use of seclusion and restraint in children's residential treatment programs in Ohio goes largely unmonitored and unregulated. The death of Kenneth Barkley was a direct result of a physical restraint and was recently ruled a homicide by the Cleveland Medical Examiner. This prompted Disability Rights Ohio to issue another Call to Action last week to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint in all children's programs. Please see the blog post about this today on ACEsConnection. 

The Disability Rights Ohio Call to Action can be viewed here: Disability Rights Ohio: Call to Action

A toolkit for advocates seeking to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint in Ohio can be found here:Hope for Faith: Advocacy Toolkit

Please do what you can to raise your voice and prevent future trauma and death of children by advocating with our state leadership to make the necessary reforms.

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