Susan's Blog

Friday, April 11, 2014

Electric Shock is Never An Educational Approach

Here is an issue that most of us can probably agree on: NO MORE ELECTRIC SHOCK for “treating” autism! I have written several times about the Judge Rotenberg Center, not 30 minutes away from me, and there they are infamous for their “method” of addressing “problem behaviors.” (Air quotes galore, because JRC is a sham.)

Once again, there is no behavior that justifies this. If you think you need to resort to electric shock, which has been outlawed by The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. If we are forbidden by the nation — and virtually the world — to use electric shock as punishment or for “instructive” purposes, then how in God’s green earth can anyone justify using this barbaric method on a student? On anyone? Where’s the uproar? Where’s the outrage?

When I think of my darling Nat — and how he’s had to fight first to understand this sensory-insane world, how to deal with it, and finally, how to make his way in it successfully — I could just cry, to imagine a person like him being shocked, being hurt, abused, any of that. It makes me nauseated to my core. It brings up rumblings of hatred in me.

What does it do inside those students?

Below is the latest call for submissions, from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN). Click on this tiny image to read it.

We have until Monday April 14 to submit opinion here.

Screenshot 2014-04-11 11.20.27


Hi Susan: Thank you for this. What did you think of this recent piece about ECT use?

— added by Louise at BLOOM on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Here’s what I think of it: just because a parent and some medical journals approve, how often do these students themselves get to say whether they approve? It’s a failure of the educational system and the medical establishment. It’s one thing if you are the patient and you go in for it after researching it yourself. It’s quite another thing to just decide to administer it to someone who cannot express how they feel about it. Besides, the school has been sanctioned in the past, I believe, for abusing this treatment.

— added by Susan Senator on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

BARF BARF BARF, on the whole thing. Ahem. I mean, yes, @SS I agree with your rational and reasonable concern that that actual ****PERSON**** involved be…involved in permission???!!!!! I teach bioethics and consent is a HUGE moral issue and ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED for any intervention to be ethical.

— added by Full Spectrum Mama on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm

You know it’s not just kids w/ASD – also emotionally disturbed, “delinquents” – any kid with “problem” behaviours. Total BS. Here’s my story: we were ordered to place our son in a residential school. NO ONE would take him – but JRC actually sent reps with glossy pamphlets to our home in NYC – it was like they were trying to push a time share! Most info was about this “game” room where kids had a wide array of rewards – and all I could think of was Donkey Island in Pinocchio. It was sleazy. Turns out at that time they were actively courting NYC for placements, and the City was thrilled to send kids up there. Me, NO WAY. We ended up placing him in Woods – where kids were frequently injured, and several died… and I took him for a home visit and never went back. . . Both JRC and Woods, btw, were a 2 1/2 hour drive, and both advised us to not visit for the first month. Again, BS. No matter how good a place is, or how desperate you are, or anything else, do not let your loved one end up so far away that you can’t regularly connect, and do not allow any institution tell you you can’t visit your child.

— added by VMGillen on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Here is a timely article from the New York Times:

This is not only an autism issue. The shock tactic (Taser) is being widely used on children in school systems around the country for “disciplinary infractions” (often not even actually happening), by over-adrenalinized adult ‘security officers’ who have little idea how to deal with children.

— added by S on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 11:49 am


— added by Susan Senator on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

Sign the petition here against shock treatment

— added by netdragon on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm

As a teenager when I was heavily depressed and non-functioning, I was sent to McLean Hospital in metro Boston and I thought it was really good. Afterwards, I graduated high school with high honors and went to a very competitive college. So if you would like an alternative to these horrible places, that is one. James Taylor, Ray Charles and others have gone there. It’s expensive, though, so hopefully you have a good insurance policy. I would just specify that you want them to limit the use of drugs except when your child is a danger. Their counseling and other services are really good, and that’s what I’d focus on, versus the psychiatric drug prescriptions.

— added by Brian on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Electric shock , are you kidding me? I thought that went out decades ago and was only used on adults suffering from severe depression. As a treatment for autism? Oh, horrors!

— added by Sharon Jones on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Not depression; behavior modification

— added by VMGillen on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 8:58 am