Troy couple outraged by 'comfort box' at day care | News
TROY - Five-year-old Bailey played with her pet lizard Wednesday instead of going to her day care center. Her parents pulled Bailey, who has special needs for Asperger's syndrome and ADHD, out of the program because they said she was being put in a cardboard box as punishment for bad behavior.
"They're using something that's supposed to be a valuable tool, but they're using it as a discipline by saying, 'Bailey if you do this, you're going to go in the box,'" said Candace Fox.
Fox said she found out about the box from investigators with Child Protective Services, who were allegedly responding to a complaint about the Unity Sunshine Day Care in Troy.
"The opening would be in the front where the child could move themselves in. And again the child is never put in the box. They would always move themselves in if that were the case," said Chris Burke, CEO of Unity House.
Burke said he can't talk about a specific case because of confidentiality rules, but said the comfort box -- also known as a "break box" -- can be effective in helping children with special needs deal with sensory overload.
"That's actually our purpose, very often, in serving people, so children can make improvements and they are able to cut down on the number of times that bad behavior happens and learn strategies to calm help themselves when they do get upset," he said.
Burke added that a child is never forced to go in the cardboard box, is supervised at all times and that the child is never fully enclosed.
But Fox showed NewsChannel 13 pictures she said were posted on Facebook a few months ago that show the box has flaps. She also said her daughter showed investigators how it was closed when she was inside.
"The fact that they're still putting her in a box and shutting the flaps is not a behavior thing. That's not helping. I think anyone would know that putting a child in the dark in a small enclosed space is not going to help their behavior any," Fox said.
Burke said they use a number of successful developmental tools to help children who can be very agitated and even dangerous to themselves. He said these tools are approved by parents, verbally or in writing.
Bailey's parents said they did not actually approve the box for their child.