Susan's Blog

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Please Support New Limits on Aversives in Massachusetts

I just received this notice of some new legislative amendments regarding the use of aversives in autism education and behavior management.  Please use this link to write to your legislator, if you are in Massachusetts!  See the ARC of Massachusetts’ message below:

The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is proposing amendments to their regulations that will end the use of aversive interventions in Massachusetts. Aversive interventions–which include hitting, pinching, and electric shock–are used in treatment plans to modify an individual’s behavior.
But aversive procedures have never been shown to be effective methods of permanently altering behavior. Their only use is as a suppression of the symptoms, not the root cause, of undesired behaviors.

Other, non-invasive methods, which pose no risk to an individual’s well-being, have been developed and are effective not only during their use, but after the their withdrawl.

There are individuals across the Commonwealth who use aversive interventions as part of behavior modification plans, and the amendments allow these individuals to continue using aversives. But as a state, we need to move forward. The amendments take the positive step of banning aversive interventions for those partaking in behavior modification plans after September 2011.

So join us in making Massachusetts a better place for people with disabilites and support the new DDS regulations that ban aversives. Take action and submit your comments support the regulations.


This is good! One of the best books I know to teach how to bring about results in problem behavior is called Communication Based Intervention for Problem Behavior – A User’s Guide for Producing Positive Change by Edward G. Carr, Len Levin, Gene McConnachie, Jane I. Carlson, Duane c. Kemp, and Christopher E. Smith. I’ve recommended it widely.
I literally studied this book once I got my hands on it and then recommended it to my daughter’s school. This book helps one understand the reason’s behind problem behaviors and how to use functional behavior assessments to replace those behaviors with appropriate behaviors serving the same purpose as the problem behavior. This is an eye opener for anyone who wants to understand problem behaviors. All behaviors serve a purpose. Once we understand the purpose for the behavior, it becomes possible to bring about a change.
Aversive interventions are from the dark ages. It’s about time change is taking place, but there needs to be a strong commitment to educating those working with this vulnerable and fragile population.

— added by Sherry Rubin on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

There are two hearings to be held on the proposed new regulations. July 20 is a hearing in Worcester, and July 22 is a hearing in Boston. Written testimony to the Department of Developmental Services is due on August 1. ( is a link to the official public hearings notice, with detailed information on the locations and times, and how to submit written testimony. Please attend, and if you can, submit written remarks as well.

Thank you!

— added by Lydia Brown on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

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