Here are some of the details of this horrendous procedure of manually shocking students who misbehave:
The Center makes use of aversives as part of their intensive, 24/7 behavior modification program. Until the late 1980s, aversion therapy was administered in the form of spanking with a spatula, pinching the feet, and forced inhaling of ammonia.
The Center administers 2-second electric skin shocks to residents using a Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED), which was invented to administer the skin-shocks by remote control through electrodes worn against the skin. Most often, the shocks are initiated manually by the staff. Automatic punishment is also used by forcing the patient to sit down on a cushion; if they stand up, they are automatically shocked. To address high-risk, low-frequency behaviors, a "Behavior Rehearsal Lesson" has been planned: The person is restrained and forcibly told to misbehave: if the student pulls away, he is shocked; if he follows the order to engage in the risky behavior, he is shocked even more. Reduction of food is also used as punishment: up to three-quarters of the daily required calories can be withheld from the patients if staff members judge that they are misbehaving.
The center stated on its website that electrical shock aversives are only employed after positive behavioral interventions have not been proven to help with violent, self-injurious behaviors and the GED is used with only 42% of residents of school age. In 2011 facilities licensed by the DDS (Department of Developmental Services) in Massachusetts, including but not limited to the Judge Rotenberg Center, were banned from subjecting new admissions to severe behavioral interventions including electric shock, long-term restraint, or aversives that pose risk for psychological harm. This is from Jonathan Turley's blog on May 5, 2012 with news of a new report detailing the horrors:
Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has filed a disturbing report with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Center for the disabled in Massachusetts is engaging in the torture of disabled children through electric shocks and restraints.
The report, entitled “Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center,” gives pictures and accounts of how restraints and shocks are used to control the behavior of the children.
What is most disturbing are the allegations that electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child’s back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GED).
This is not the first controversy for the Judge Rotenberg Center. Judge Rotenberg CEO and founder Dr. Matthew L. Israel established the program in California back in 1977. The center was the subject of an investigation into the death in 1981 of a 14-year-old boy who was tied to his bed. After the investigation cleared Israel, he moved first to Rhode Island and then to Massachusetts. Recently there was an allegation that the Center destroyed tapes after giving shocks to children in a prank call,here.
For a copy of the report, click USReportandUrgentAppealFor the full story, click here.
And this from the Guardian, June 2, announcing a UN investigation into torture, no less:
The UN's special rapporteur on torture has made a formal approach to the US government over a special-needs school near Boston that inflicts electric shocks on autistic children as a form of behavioural control.
Juan Mendez has told the Guardian that he has opened discussions with the US mission to the UN in Geneva as a first step towards investigating the school.
The rapporteur plans to contact the US state department and has the option of reporting the matter to the UN human rights council.
Mendez said he was "very concerned" about the use of electric shocks, which are inflicted on autistic children through pads applied to their skin. . . .
Can anyone who is not involved in the payola explain how this can continue in Massachusetts?? Here is the recent video from a local TV station. If you find it hard to watch, imagine what it was like to the child being tortured: