Use of shields has been a part of the RIGHT RESPONSE curriculum for many years, although quite a few were unaware of it. I personally felt that use of shields was an underutilized tool within the curriculum, so a few years ago we made some additions to that particular skill section, building onto what was already in place.
Since those revisions were made, we have and will continue to encourage that as an option, even for those attending only Elements or Elements+ levels of the workshop. Use of shields is not considered restrictive and in many ways is an extension of those basic skills already being taught during the Elements and Elements+ portion of the course, as well as an additional tool for those attending Advanced.
A common question that has come up, is if we teach or plan to teach to the use of specific shields or blocking pads. As a community-based human services company, we don’t have plans at this point to create specific pads for use or teaching of this portion of the course.
The reason is that in supporting individuals to be a part of the community at-large, we believe that bringing pads along while out and about, could serve to unduly call attention to an individual we support and potentially hinder that community inclusion. It’s part of the reason we advocate for using items that can be commonly found in the environment, for the purposes of shielding. It’s certainly not to say that an organization could not utilize pads in addition to other commonly found items. If an organization has those pads in their environment, use what you have available to you.
Advocating use of pads as the sole method for shielding though does raise questions for us. Could a specific pad or type of pad, end up potentially serving as a visual trigger? Even if those pads become part of the environment, what happens when those are not around? What options are in place for those responders in those situations when a pad is not available?
Additionally, we would caution against using shields or pads as a way to either force an individual to move or to hold them in place, if the aim is to remove those restrictive techniques from your environment. From our perspective, doing so may fall under what would be the same as an escort or hold, since it may restrict their movement, particularly in the case of the latter.
If you are a current RIGHT RESPONSE instructor or licensee wanting to better incorporate the use of shields in your workshops, you can find that information in your Instructor Guide or can download that information. You are also more than welcome to reach out to us for assistance and we will be happy to help!