SIGN PETITION HERE
***WARNING...on the above link to the petition you will be able to view the video of the poor 18-year-old autistic young man who was given this shock treatment over 31 times in 7 hours. There were reports of another 18-year-old autistic child who received 88 shock treatments in 3 hours. It is VERY difficult to watch even a snippet of this video. You can hear the poor boy screaming HELP ME or STOP IT....and he is strapped face down to a table...spread eagled..and what tops it off and makes it deplorable...is the fact that you can hear/see staff in the background LAUGHING.
This occurs at Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) — a special needs school in Canton, Massachusetts.
I cannot tell you how this ties my stomach up in knots...how FURIOUS it makes me...how I am sickened and saddened that anyone anywhere has deemed this so-called inhumane torture "therapy" and gotten away with performing it over and over again! Of course it is usually performed on those who CANNOT speak for themselves...have little ability to communicate....who have no idea of the reason they are even being punished...or that they are even being PUNISHED at all. They usually do not know what they did wrong..or why it is considered "wrong" to begin with. Must we really try to get all the square pegs to fit into society's round holes?
In this particular case...the boy, Andre McCollins, would not remove his coat. Let's read that again. He would NOT remove his coat. SO...that behavior is deemed UNwanted and warrants SHOCKING??? As mom to an autistic child who was very NONverbal starting out his young life..I am totally aware that any PUNISHMENT for something like this just does not work. WHY? Because they do not know they are doing anything wrong. So what if this poor child would not remove his coat? Often, Noah would not want to remove his in school...or he would get extremely upset if he got water on his shirt..dirt on his pants..etc..and have a "meltdown" and disrupt the class. THOSE are not reasons to PUNISH these kids. They are reacting in the only way they know how to COPE with all their sensory overload. Wearing the coat probably helped this child remain CALM and more focused...perhaps safe. He was sitting still in the classroom and facing forward. WHY make an issue at all about the coat? Because he was not like everyone else? WHERE in society is it deemed we all HAVE to remove our coats when inside to begin with? HOW would that ever prepare him for behaving BETTER in any social situation? I don't understand this.
So this poor kid gets dragged from his chair..he is screaming and crying already...and they strap him to that table spread eagled..place a helmet on his head and begin administering electrical shocks to his body....stronger than taser strength..over 31 times. He has suffered some permanent brain damage now because of this. The child's mother has submitted petitions to try to get this treatment (and I use that word loosely)...BANNED but it continues to this day to other, special needs children and young adults at this particular school..or so-called school. MANY have climbed on the bandwagon saying the mother had to SIGN off and give PERMISSION for her child to receive this treatment..but often the schools will not go into detail about what their "treatments" are and never display them to the parent. SELDOM.
This child has since been treated at a children's hospital and is now in a mental hospital. I am not sure that is any better. You see a picture of him on one website where he looks so innocent and smiling....it is hard to believe he had such bad "behavior"...but I know it is possible. BUT I also know that this form of "behavioral therapy" is just WRONG and will usually never work on an autistic child...and it will usually be met with the complete OPPOSITE reaction of the one you wanted to begin with.
I am stunned about this. I am in a state of shock myself that this is being allowed to continue..even now with the UN doing an investigation. It is scary. Think about it. What could this lead to in the future for any special needs people? WHAT else goes on that we do not know about...sometimes our kids cannot even tell us.
I know when Noah was not able to talk much...and we would get called to school because he did "something wrong" ...he could never tell us his story or what really happened according to him. We only heard the school's side and of course they expected us to believe what they said was true. I found out quickly how often schools lie about things to cover their own backsides. As Noah got older and able to communicate better...I also became more involved and asked more and more questions. We were asked at one point to GIVE PERMISSION at his school in Colorado to allow staff to "RESTRAIN" him if he "acted out." First I asked for them to define "acting out." They said it would be if he put himself or others in danger such as kicking, biting, running away, etc. I told them that HOLDING Noah down would be met with the exact opposite behavior than the one they wanted. After all, if someone tries to hold YOU down..what do YOU do? I fight against it. I fight to be free. I cry and scream for help. I would kick and bite and try running away and do even MORE of those same possible behaviors they did not want to begin with!
They did demonstrate the RESTRAINING technique since I asked for it to be demonstrated...a type of sitting down BODY hug basically...a little more than a hug..where they basically have your child on the floor between their legs and they wrap their arms and legs super tightly around your child's body...and if we are not there to witness it...HOW do we know what really happens?
We withdrew Noah from school the next day. I did not want to sign that paper and have him end up in who knows what type of situation.
Now I know not all autistic and special needs children are the same..and many have extreme defiant behaviors and more...but I still feel very strongly that SHOCKING them is NOT the way to HELP them. It would seem to me to only create more anxiousness....fear....withdrawal...silencing of that tiny voice inside that is wishing so much it could speak and just have someone else "listen."
So I am asking you to BE THEIR VOICE...SIGN THE PETITION...HELP BAN this type of so-called therapy from ever being used against another special needs child in the future.