Judge Rotenberg Center: Autism Society Statement; Trial Continues
Yesterday, the Autism Society of America issued a statement condemning the use of electrical shocks on patients at the Judge Rotenberg Center, and its founder Matthew Israel testified in his own defense in a lawsuit stemming from 31 of those shocks being given to one teenager in a single day.
Kim Wombles, who also got a statement from Autism Speaks opposing the practice, posted a statement from the ASA that reads, in part:
The Autism Society is distressed by a video shown in court this week that shows a young adult being restrained and shocked at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities in Canton, Massachusetts. The Autism Society does not support the use of electric shock therapy on any individual. Accounting for all we know about autism today, electric shock therapy is an archaic practice that should be obsolete. All individuals, no matter where they fall on the autism spectrum or how challenging their behaviors, deserve better from professional services.
In addition to Israel's testimony, which was expected to continue today, lawyers defending the JRC and its doctors tried to make the case that Cheryl McCollins' son Andre was actually being cared for as staff strapped him down and repeatedly shocked him:
A lawyer for defendant Robert von Heyn, who is now the director of clinical services at the Rotenberg Center, played the clips from the end of Andre McCollin’s day inside the classroom, asking von Heyn to point out where a pediatrician and staff members were checking on McCollins and giving him encouragement.
The Judge Rotenberg Center maintains that McCollins was dangerously aggressive that day and the shocks and restraint he received were part of his court-approved treatment plan.
A word from Jennifer Gonnerman about those "court-approved treatment plans" at the JRC: "the court rarely, if ever, bars the Rotenberg Center from adding shock to a student's treatment plan, according to lawyers and disability advocates who have tried to prevent it from doing so."