Electroshock Therapy for Children with ASD!?Matthew M. Sullivan
The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Mass. is a boarding school that specializes in children with developmental disabilities, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The center has been around for over forty years, but one of the “aversion therapy” techniques the school uses is older than the institution — that is to say, it’s the only school that still utilizes such practices.
Their controversial therapy involves pasting electrodes to students bodies, which are attached to a battery-pack, and giving an electric shock to students who “act out.” JRC’s Executive Director Glenda Crookes says that, although the shocks are painful — comparable to a bee-sting — the students “[aren’t] afraid of [it],” and that their “affect changes” for the better after they’re released. However some people, such as UN representative Juan Mendez, liken the practice to “torture.”
“You need to experience the day-to-day goings-on,” says Crookes, “and it happens so few and far between — it’s very rare that someone gets an application; they know what they get the application for, so it’s not a fearful thing.”
While the JRC has been using this technique for years, it came under scrutiny when some of the center’s surveillance footage of a “rare” instance was presented in a court case. In the video, a seventeen-year-old student is tied to a restraint board and repeatedly shocked by caretakers. The video, which is embedded in the video report below, is intense, so please heed the following:
Warning: The Following Video Contains Content That Some Readers May Find Disturbing.
In the video, a clip of the infamous event begins at [1:48] and ends at [2:09]. It is unclear how many of the thirty-one shocks that then-seventeen-year-old Andre McCollins received take place during the short clip, and unclear whether the screaming is a result of the shocks and straps or if they were “what [he] got the application for” — however, both the audio and video may be disturbing.
Watch with caution — and if you DO find the content disturbing, be sure to sign the petition to stop this cruel “therapy.”
Want to help end this kind of therapy for children with ASD? Sign the petition to stop JRC’s use of electroshock.