Below are pictures taken of a school called Tobinworld in Glendale California. At the very bottom is a video done by the school as a tour of the school. Tobinworld is a privatly run special education school. One picture is of a overhead shot of the school. I also added a picture of the schools "Point Sheet" that's used at the school. I stopped the sidebar before the pictures so I could make the point sheet bigger to read everything on it.
The points (A possible 5 per hour) are used to determin if the kid can go to the one site ice cream store, or get something from the closet at the end of the day. Based on points, they can get a can of soda, or a candy bar...those types of things. And while your working, they sometimes go around putting chips or a few pieces of small candy like M&M's on the desk and adding "Good job working quietly". Did I mention this was in the high school class? Drove me up the wall. I felt like I was being treated like a little kid.
This school doesn't have a time out room, but they do use something they call "Theraputic Restraints". Basically kids are taken to the floor, put on their stomachs and then the arms and legs are spread out like your flying. Typically two staff do this to one kid. One adult on each side.
Each adult puts their legs to hold down each one of the child's legs, and then the adults hold the childs arm in two places, one hand on the wrist, and the other on the elbow to keep the arm from being able to be bent. Then they rest the remainder of their weight by leaning on the child's back preventing the child from moving his waist and back. When it was done to me, they weight of two adults made it very difficult to breath. If you struggle, a 3rd staff is added and put's preasure on your back.
On at least 3 different times I had this done to mean and almost suffocated one of those times. I was accused of stealing a staff members pen (I didn't take it, I got it at the 99 cent store the day before) after several attempts to actually snatch the pen from my hand as I was trying to do my school work, he finally lunged at me.
He tipped me backwards in my desk (the desk and chair that are one piece) and we fell backward smashing a table that was behind me, and smashing the little table fan that was on the table as well. The pen flew from my hand as I attempted to keep myself from falling.
Once on the floor, I was pulled from my desk, laid on my stomach and had my arms and legs spread out and held down. The staff member that began the attack, Sabas, saw the pen and grabbed it. He remarked saying "Now who has the pen?" as if it was a big deal. He placed the pen in his pocket and then took his hand that was on my elbow, and took his elbow and began drilling his elbow into my right shoulder blade as I screamed out in pain.
After about 10 minutes of this, he stopped and put more of his weight on my back. It made it very difficult to breath. When I tried to shift his weight so I could get a breath, he added more. I got very light headed and my vision got foggy. I just couldn't get enough air. I was on the verge of suffocating. Just before passing out, he shifted his weight and I was able to get a deep breath in. It was VERY VERY scary. I was afraid for my life.
So another 20 minutes went by before the staff let me up from the floor. I was told to go down to the basketball court and rejoin the class. On the way down the stairs, Sabas put his head by my ear and whispered "If you do ANYTHING, I will drop your ass. I don't care".
I honestly feared for my safety and life around Sabas. That wasn't the only time I was attacked, but it was the worst of the attacks. And on my first day of school there on top of it. Nice first impression Tobinworld!
Anyway, enough of my accounts on this page. Your here to see pictures. You can read about all my incident's at Tobinworld on my bio page.
Because some things on the sheet are hard to read, even blown up I will explain a few sections. The first is the bar going down the side of the sheet. Each hour, you could get up to 5 points per hour provided you did the things in the box going down. There are catagories. I will list those, and what is in each catagory that a student has to do to get the 5 points.
Tantrum: Folow directions, Stay in seat, Arms down, No tense ups.
Aggression: Folow directions, Hands on task, Work quietly
Self Abuse: Hands on task or at sides, Follow directions
Non Compliance (Non COMP): No refusing, No slapping, follow directions
So if you went say a week without doing any of the above, you get a agreed apon "reward" for being good. They have a "reward" room where you can choose things. Model planes and cars, t-shirts, baseball caps, and other toys. I never was into anything they had. So they got a little pissed when I wouldn't pick anything. I am fine if the "rewards" helped the other kids they behave. That's all fine and great. But I wasn't like the other kids there. Many of the kids at this school are in high school age, but they are much younger mentally. Most of the 16 year old's acted like they were closet to 8-10. I didn't want to be treated at such a age level. I was 17, and acted as a 17 year old. And I took this reward for being good thing as offensive, making me feel like I was being treated like a very young kid, like age 5 or so most times.
There was also a monthly reward. Well, it wasn't exactly "monthly" per say. It was more like a long term goal. If you were go for such and such many weeks, you could choose a larger item. I choosed some fast food from somewhere. I never expected to get it since Sabas normally caused a confertation which reset the set goal to the beginning. I didn't care, I had money so if I wanted fast food, or a soda from the classroom "store" I just went home and went to the store and bought one.
They also pay you there for perfect attendance. If you were there a whole month, they paid you $32.00 in a small envelope. Cash of course. A $20.00, a $10.00 and two $1.00. I was there for a year and a half, and only got it once. Because of the abuse, I ditched school as often as I could to recouperate from a recent attack. If I was attacked, they could assume I wouldn't be there for 1-2 days. I woud ditch school, and ice and heat the injury and take some tylenol and bed rest. If my mom was home, I had no choice, I had to go to school, even after a attack. It was only when she wasn't home could I take a day to recoup and heal. And since I got the spinal injury the year before going there, every "theraputic restraints" would put preasure on my spine and cause severe pain. So I really did need the day or two after a attack to give my back time to heal.
Me and the school were like oil and water. There was even a time where the staff thought they had me figured out. They would threaten to give me a point if I was being bad. They thought that my goal was to lose as many points as possible, so they figured if they threatened to give me points, I would be a perfect little angel. The truth was, I couldn't have cared less about getting or losing points. It was just a piece of paper to me. But the other students, OH MY GOD. If they lost just one point, they would totally lose it. Start crying saying like "No no, please. I will be good, I will be good". As if losing a point was going to get them a flogging or something. It was truely like telling a 5 year old you were going to take a toy away for a bit. Just a total melt down.....over a freaking point. So yea, that was how the points worked there.
*****If you have Internet Explorer, in the bottom right of your window, there is a Magnifying glass that normally says 100%. You can increase the magnification of the page by clicking on that and you will be able to read the point sheet better and make out the words. For those that want to bother anyway. :)
The video below is basically a tour of the Tobinworld school. Of course it doesn't show how the take downs are done, or show any other punishments that are done there. But I can understand that. As a school I would probably only want to show the best things of the school too. Anyway, should give you an idea about what it's like there more or less. All in all, I felt two ways about the place. First with all the staff with you every milisecond, even when taking a pee, security camera's, locked gates and all I felt like I was in prison for 8 hours a day. Then there is the M&M's placed on your desk about every 15 minutes or so with a comment like "Good job working quietly". Something you would tell a 5 year old. I was 16, I didn't need such childish comments or M&M's to work quietly.
Point system (picture above) drove me up the wall. If I talked without permission or something "You lost a point" they would say. It's funny because I could care less about losing a point. However the other kids in the class (age 14-17) would actually break down crying if they lost a point. They would cry and beg "No, please please. I'm sorry. Please don't take a point. PLEASEEEEEEE". It was strange. It was like watching a toddler in the body of a 16 year old. At times I honestly felt I had to be dreaming to see what I saw.
Then the reward room. You were taken to the room to sign a contract. It would be for a week or a month. Basically they would choose a behavior you did that they wished for you to change. For example, if you say hmmm, pinched yourself every 20 minutes or something. The contract would be something like "I will not pinch myself for 2 weeks". And if the student completed the task, they would get the reward they picked from the room.
They had t-shirts, baseball hats, model cars, kites and so on. For me, there wasn't anything in that room I wanted. Most items were $20.00 or less, and if I really wanted something in there I could just go home, go to the store and get it myself. Why would I rack myself to do something they wanted me to do for something I could simply go home and get myself? This drove them nuts. They said "You have to pick something". So they got a bit upset that I wouldn't go along with the program and pick something and choose a behavior goal.
Then there was the "Class store". Basically based on your points from the day, you could choose an item from one of 5 levels. They had things like 2 pieces of hard candy for the lowest, and things like candy bars, chips and cans of soda for those who got all their daily points. Again I felt like having to do this made me feel like a toddler. So I would politely decline to take anything. Or if I did, I would just give mine to a kid in the class I felt could better use it. Besides, I had a 2 liter of Dr Pepper or Diet Pepsi at home anyway. I think I could wait the 20 minute ride home for a glass or two of soda.
Then there is the on site ice cream store. A Baskin Robins. There was also a "teen lounge" that was painted black with a black light for lighting with glow in the dark stars and planets on the ceiling. In the room was two imitation black leather sofa's, A big screen HD tv with a Nintendo 64 connected to it. On the other side of the room where game machines. Things like Pinball machine, a few video game's like Pac Man and a 2 player fighting game along with a slot machine. Everything was altered so they did not require coins to operate. So once a week the class would choose either the ice cream store or the lounge. Your points decided if you took part, or if you stayed back in the classroom with a staff member. If you stayed back, most times you had to sit in your desk with your palms flat on the table and not move till the class returned.
And finally once a week there was a few things that took place. First this all happened on Fridays. Every Friday a BBQ with things like hot dogs, hamburgers and other food would be set up for lunch. Then your class had a choice of either watching a movie, or going to the fun room. Basically the fun room had things you could play for tickets, and a mini caracel with 4 horses. Pop corn, playing a game system, playing air hockey and things like that.
This school was very much reward oreinted. Everything you did effected wheather or not you got a reward. I understand some kids thrive using rewards. But it just ticked me off. Everything they did from the point system, to the ice cream store and the daily rewards drove me up the wall. It really made me feel like I was in preschool where the teachers give out stickers to the little kids for playing nicely and all that. Where the teachers took the little kids to the bathroom. I mean I couldn't even pee in private. I would go to the bathroom and have this teachers aide standing right behind me watching me go. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to pee with someone standing there watching you? I will tell you, it's not easy.
They had hourly, daily, weekly and even monthly rewards. They even paid you 1 dollar per day for the whole month if you had perfect attendance. I got it once, a small envelope with $31.00. I hate to say it but I didn't like going there so much I ditched school whenever possible. Most often I would ditch after an attack. I needed time to heal. Unless it was Friday because with the 2 day weekend I didn't have to ditch. 2 days was more then enough time to heal.
The aid while I was there, Sabas, he was always doing things to me. Calling me white boy, hurting me physically, or doing things to anger me so I would try to step outside the classroom to cool off and then he would slam me to the tile floor saying I was "going off". He even kept my lunch from me for a period of 3 weeks because I wouldn't take part in the flash cards. He said if I wanted lunch, I had to write out of a dictionary for 3 hours first, and each day I refused I would lose my lunch. Which is against the law by the way, to refuse a student their lunch. So I dealt with that problem by eatting a larger breakfast and ate lunch when I got home.
Don't get me wrong, I understand most of the kids there had developmental disabilities and most were basically toddlers in teenage bodies. So the reward system was right on their level. But I wasn't like them. I was reverse. I was an adult in a teenage body. I didn't need nor want the rewards. And since most of the kids going to the school lived in group homes or foster homes or assisted living locked facilities I totally understand why they would bust thier butts to get the rewards since living in such places they didn't have access to money, or able to go out and buy t-shirts, model cars, eat ice cream, get cans of soda and so on. So those things were important to them. I totally understand that.
However I lived at home with my family. I have money from recycling cans and bottles every week and doing odd jobs for people in my area. So I didn't have to bust my butt jumping through hoops doing what they wanted from me for just a can of soda. To me, the place always did things that made me feel like I was 5 in a preschool. I couldn't do anything myself, had to ask permission to get up from my seat, handed a few M&M's for doing things like simply doing my school work. Anyway, enough of me here. Here is the video tour of Tobinworld.....