It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Rotenberg Center. Torturing the disabled and calling it "therapy"

page: 2
<< 1   >>

log in


posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 03:44 PM
reply to post by Dontshootthemessanger

My daughter is autistic and at her last autism school when she got out of hand, they'd wrap her in a sheet so she couldn't flail about hurting herself or others. It would calm her a lot better than what mainstream schooling tried. They would say she wasn't "autistic enough" to go to an autistic school so we spent YEARS of suspensions, etc... Every time she got teased by other kids, she'd get physical and the school, rather than deal with the bullying, would suspend her and say she started it. Even when the teacher and guidance counselor tried fighting for her. Once I got her out of mainstreaming she did so much better, but she still had the bad behaviors she learned from mainstreaming we had to work with. She learned if I act up, I'll go home. The new school wouldn't play that game and she didn't like the change. But never in all my years of handling my daughter would I EVER send her to a school that inflicted pain on purpose. I wonder if the mother signed consent forms of some kind that insulate the school from lawsuits??? Something in fine print she may not have read thoroughly?? Not blaming her mind you, but as a parent of a DD/MR child, I can attest to the paperwork you are bombarded with, and sometimes that's just permission for them to talk to a doctor. I have 4 3-ring binders full of paperwork I've saved in case I need to recall something and I'm about to start my 5th. Just curious what paperwork they threw at this mother that gave the school "permission" for this treatment/torture. It could also explain why they've been investigated in the past and nothing came of it. They might have had legal authority, and galling as that sounds.

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 05:39 PM
reply to post by LightSpeedDriver

Yeah, spell-check is my friend.
Thanks for the welcome! I'll probably just live with it though; I really do prefer to read rather than participate for the most part. This story just riled me and I can't let go of it: I'll still be thinking about this when I'm trying to sleep tonight. I wonder how he didn't die too.

I read about that poor little girl. She was so young, and she really didn't do anything wrong. What kid doesn't sneak candy at some point in their childhoods? Just, ugh, people.

reply to post by happyhomemaker29

I've worked with people who's protocols advised us to restrain them after certain behaviors manifested; luckily I had never been on a shift when that happened. There are time when I imagine it's quite necessary, especially if you're working with children. Glad that you have your daughter in a situation that is working better for you both. She's lucky to have an advocate in you!

To be honest, I never even thought about the parents in this case. Just righteous anger at the people at that school and pity for the kiddos. I think you're right, that there was some fine print, or obscure phrasing in the paperwork, that gave these so-called "teachers" leeway to do this. The parents were probably completely in the dark (I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt until more information comes out.).

I wonder what type of lawyer-speak they used to pull this off; if a parent punished their child in their home with electric shocks, I can guarantee CPS would have some things to say.

I'm also curious about where those kids were at developmentally. If they were able to verbalize exactly what was going on, if they DID tell people (well, some must of if there were complaints in the past). I would also like to know who's funding that school (please don't tell me it's public!!!!). Questions, questions.
edit on 25-2-2012 by Dontshootthemessanger because: added a thought

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 10:43 PM
reply to post by Dontshootthemessanger

I know I'm very cautious with my daughter, and yes, sometimes over protective. I have to be. The way I see it is, if I don't fight for her, no one will. Because of moving it's thrown her in turmoil and she has acted out violently, but a lot of it really is not being able to verbalize WHY she's upset. She's 16, but her IQ puts her at moderately retarded. (55) Whether it's from oxygen loss at birth, TBI, or the autism, who's to really say. She's 16 but mentally closer to 7, sometimes older, sometimes younger. It depends on the situation. She can be the most sweetest thing you've ever come across, and if something upsets her, she can be a whole NFL linebacker team coming at you. Right now we're stuck in an impossible situation. Because of her acting out against me everytime something upsets her, it's time to residential her. The downside? A LOT of states are either closing group homes,etc... This state in particular we've tried unsuccessfully to find a group home that will take her for almost 5 months now. They either won't take aggression, won't take females, or want her to be an adult. Plus the mental health can't make up their mind if they want her to go into group, or what's called theraputic foster care. This I absolutely refuse. I not going to put her in a situation where she can hurt someone else, maybe even someone smaller than her and let her suffer the consequence the rest of her life. That and once foster finds out she's aggressive, they refuse her. But the mental health in our area won't bump her to group, so in the meantime everytime she's aggressive I have to call the cops, have them come to the house to tell me, "What do you expect us to do, you need to take out an involuntary committment on her." Which I do, then maybe 7 hours later they'll show up to take her to the ER. Once the pediatric psych checks her out, he sends her home, maybe 1 day away from home in total. There's no respite in the area for her anymore, they've since shut those down due to state funding. Since one ER doc changed her meds, thankfully this doesn't happen as often. When we moved her it happened maybe twice a week, maybe twice a month. Now her aggression is mainly verbal, or ignoring, only been physical once since the new med change. She was also staying awake all hours of the night, which tired me out big time when the ER took her off her sleep meds, this has changed to, plus with their permission I've added melatonin a few hours before bedtime to mellow her. Not zombify, mellow. Now she's sleeping again, going to school again, and back on a regular routine schedule. (And with autism, you canNOT deviate from schedule.) We got word Friday they might have a respite group home for her once they heard about her case, plus I'm going to try and have her evaluated by two top autism doctors at UNC. They only take complicated cases and the autism society parent advocate says she definitely qualifies. Let's hope things look up for her. I hope so anyway. As a parent of a tough child, it upsets me when I see these stories because I know it could be her just as easily. Especially if the mainstream school in our last state had their way......I fought tooth and nail to get her into that autism school. They were shocked she hadn't been there since Kindegarten.

posted on Feb, 26 2012 @ 08:58 AM
reply to post by riley

I am appalled - had no idea this crap was still going on.

Thanks for the heads up. S&F&

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:57 AM

Originally posted by Dontshootthemessanger
reply to post by riley

I made an account just to comment on this, and will probably slink back into the shadows of lurkerdom when I've had my say. (Took me forever to figure out a user-name, and I misspelled it! It does look different on this side though.)

Welcome to ATS.

I don't understand using pain an a deterrent. Oh, I'm sure it works, and probably faster than redirection techniques. But that doesn't make it ethical. The people delivering the shocks must have lost all their empathy. Or maybe repetition makes it easier. Or perhaps they really think they're doing the right thing, since the order came from the boss. I don't know.

I think it works like a whip does on a slave. Only a couple of hundred years ago whipping people was seen as "ethical" because they were not seen as equals. I imagine a similar justification is taught to workers here. I don't know how they're able to go through with it without feeling conflicted however a quick google search reveals they are desperately looking for workers willing to do it.

Now, there were lots of things I disagreed with during my stint in group homes. Like somebody pointed out earlier, instead of trying to help clients work through issues and come to a place in their life where things are tolerable, they just drug everybody up within an inch of their brains. Some people need 'em, some don't. It's not as individualized as doctors make it out to be. Frankly, a lot of the caught in the system don't have family members or strong advocates, and fall by the wayside. It's enough for society that they have a roof over their head and a full stomach, right? (That last sentence was sarcasm, btw.)

I was reading the other day where patients are deemed "well" when they're on medications and "unwell" when they assert themselves and choose not to take them because of side effects etc. You're right.. without family or other advocates they have no one to stand up for their rights.

This reminds me of "Christmas in Purgatory". I thought those days were over.
Sorry for the rant, I'm done!
Thankyou I will try get myself a copy.

posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 02:02 AM
Does anyone have any theories as to why this "shock back pack" is actually approved by the FDA?
Device Classification Name device, aversive conditioning
510(K) Number K911820
240 laban st.
providence, RI 02909
Contact maureen fogarty
Regulation Number 882.5235
Classification Product Code
Date Received 04/24/1991
Decision Date 12/05/1994
Decision substantially equivalent (SE)
Classification Advisory Committee Neurology
Review Advisory Committee Neurology
Type Traditional
Reviewed by Third Party No
Combination Product No

The UN has deemed it torture.. if teachers used such devices on children in "normal" schools or if these were used in prisons the operators which be thrown in prison themselves. So why are these devices not banned or their approval re-evaluated?

The FDA logo actually says "Protecting and Promoting your health" which seems a tad contradictory given this is was created to torture. It has been suspected in causing death and injury. So WTH is going on here?

posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 02:12 AM
Disgusting. I have a few choice words I'd like to be able to write, but won't for the sake of my account status haha.
What kind of sick person tortures a disabled boy? What kind of sick institution advocates this kind of behaviour?!
If he threw something at a member of staff, would the first thing to do not be to find out why he did that, and deal with the reason behind the behaviour? And even then, you wouldn't cruelly inflict pain on them for seven hours straight!!!
Jesus Christ on a unicycle! Even my son who is three, he can really push my buttons sometimes, to even consider torturing him, because it IS torture, is incomprehensible! How much of a sicko do you have to be to continue to be angry for so long that you would restrain a child for several hours and hurt them considerably throughout that time?
I'm honestly not surprised he's become catatonic!
I think if she is able, his mum should remove him from their care, and consider other establishments more wisely, especially if she knew that this place already had a bad reputation.
Why is this place still open, and how can it be shut down?

posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 05:22 AM
Sorry for the second post, I exceeded the four hours left to edit the previous.

I find it somewhat disgusting, and suspicious that on the JRC website, anything about aversive treatments immediately 404's, yet they have graphic photos of the before and (very delayed) after treatment photos.
I think it's abhorrent.
Anything about it's policies, practises, treatment before, during and after this 'therapy' is not on the website servers. It's been removed.

I also read, that such treatments are only used if there is no chance of the subject becoming psychologically damaged by it. I would sue them right up their ass hole and out the top of their head.

posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 06:12 AM
There is some speculation as to why it has not been shut down here:
Why Can't Massachusetts Shut Matthew Israel Down?

In Massachusetts, Matthew Israel's critics have been trying to put him out of business for more than two decades. The first major battle took place in 1985—before Israel even started using shocks—after a 22-year-old student named Vincent Milletich died while in restraints at one of Israel's homes. The state Office for Children tried to close down Israel's facility, but he fought back with a lawsuit and a PR blitz. (For example, much as he does with journalists today, Israel showed videos of his methods to pioneering behaviorist B.F. Skinner, who was famously opposed to the use of painful punishments known as "aversives." Skinner then issued a statement saying that such extreme patients might require aversive therapy.) In the end, Judge Ernest Rotenberg, for whom the facility is now named, decreed that the program could stay open, though Israel would have to obtain court approval every time he wanted to use aversive therapy on a student.

In the mid-1990s, Massachusetts again tried to close down Israel's program—which by then had started to use electric shocks—and again he prevailed. This time, a judge declared that the state Department of Mental Retardation had waged a "war of harassment" against Israel, accused its commissioner of lying on the witness stand, stripped the agency of its power to regulate Israel's facility, and ordered the state to pay the $1.5 million in legal fees and other costs that Israel had racked up. The commissioner was forced to resign, a cautionary tale for any other state official thinking of taking on Israel.

Meanwhile, a parallel battle over Israel's use of aversives has been fought in the Massachusetts state Legislature. Since the late 1980s, a bill to ban their use has been introduced in every legislative session—and every time it has failed to become law. Emotional hearings on the pros and cons of aversives have become a regular ritual. Critics (professors, disability activists, mental-health experts) testify against the use of aversive therapy, while parents plead with lawmakers not to pass the bill, insisting that without aversives their children's self-abusive behavior will escalate.

In this battle, Israel has the perfect ally: state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, whose nephew Brandon has been in Israel's care since age 12; Brandon, now 27, is one of Israel's most challenging cases, with a long record of extremely self-injurious behavior. This is the same Brandon who Israel once shocked more than 5,000 times, prompting him to make a new device that could deliver much more pain. Nevertheless, Brandon's parents credit Israel with saving their son's life, and his uncle has helped ensure that no bill banning aversives becomes law.

So in a bird-in-hand strategy, state Senator Brian A. Joyce, whose district includes the Rotenberg Center, has introduced two new bills that—while not proposing an outright ban on aversives—would regulate their use much more strictly. "The harsh reality is we're doing this to innocent children in Canton, Massachusetts," he says. "If this treatment were used on terrorist prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, there would be worldwide outrage."

So it seems that Israel has friends in high places who are willing to force family to endure this torment. Some people may think the family has the right to consent on behalf of the boy but what kind of life does he have right at this minute if they had to increase shocking him? Are the still upping the ampage? Many things about this place strike me as being very cultish.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 09:29 AM

Originally posted by riley
Teen tied and shocked for hours; mom calls it "torture"

(FOX 25 / - Video of a disabled teen tied down and given painful electric shocks for seven hours should be made public, the youth's mother said, so everyone can see what she describes as the "torture" her son went through at the controversial school, the only one in Massachusetts that uses pain to treat its clients.

Update. The judge ruled in favour of FOX and they've made the video public. It was court sealed for several years.

WARNING. It is VERY graphic.. if you choose to watch it I suggest turning the sound down at the start of play.

edit on 13-4-2012 by riley because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 07:56 AM
Again, this video is proof that the 'treatments' are psychologically damaging, despite the Rotenberg Center claiming they wouldn't use it on a child if such a reaction was possible. Clearly it is psychologically damaging.

posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 02:24 PM

Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
I'm shocked this still happens in modern America. I thought the Shock Therapy insanity when out in the 60's and into the 70's. I didn't realize they were still strapping people down to shock them into a stupor in the name of behavioral modification.

Geeze.... it's the Dark Ages out there in some places. What's next? A Lobotomy if the kid does something worse??

"Shock therapy" used for depression is quite effective actually, it tends to help a great deal with low risk/minor side effects; it isn't at all the same as what is often depicted in movies and television like "Requiem for a Dream".

This needs to be differentiated from the "shock therapy" used in psychological settings called aversion therapy in which one is administered a painful shock each time they show a negative behavioural response. An example of this is in treating a pedophile; a person will be hooked up to a machine which measures their arousal to different pictures and administers a shock if they become aroused towards a normally "neutral stimuli" like a picture of a naked young child in order to eliminate the unacceptable behaviour through aversion.

This therapy has also been shown to be quite effective but it carries a great deal of moral and ethical implications and it is illegal for it to be performed without the consent of a person or their parent/guardian.

EDIT: I just watched the video and it seems like the mother authorized the aversion therapy, so I don't see what the anger directed at the hospital is, unless they've broken some sort of ethical ground rules(which wouldn't be surprising). It's not really torture though, and sometimes it IS necessary, the mother signed the forms, she should have been aware of what aversion therapy is about.
edit on 25-4-2012 by Tetrarch42 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 26 2012 @ 12:32 AM
reply to post by Tetrarch42

They did not inform her what it was about.. she found out after the video was released by the judge. The partially publically funded school (not a hospital) tried to stop it's release in order to prevent people from knowing what the "treatment" was. The kid just refused to take off his jacket.. thats not exactly bad behaviour and if these devices were used in prisons there would be outrage. All these kids have done "wrong" is have a disability.. torturing them isn't going to change that it just turns them into obedient slaves. You speak as though they are not entitled to the same rights, freedoms and protections as everyone else.


posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 03:38 AM
UN calls for investigation of US school's shock treatments of autistic children

The UN's special rapporteur on torture has made a formal approach to the US government over a special-needs school near Boston that inflicts electric shocks on autistic children as a form of behavioural control.


About half of the school\'s students carry the generators that are triggered by care assistants using remote-controlled zappers, which then send a electric charge to skin pads on the children\'s arms and legs.

The Guardian is one of very few media organisations that have witnessed the school in operation.

In recent weeks opposition to the controversial electro-shock treatment has reached fever pitch. A rally demanding the end of the practice was due to be held outside the Massachusetts state house at noon Saturday followed by a march at the JRC itself at 3.30pm.


Outrage over the school was taken to a new level in April when for the first time the public was able to see video footage of a child being subjected to the shocks.

The video, played in a Boston courtroom, showed then 18-year-old Andre McCollins being given 31 shocks over a seven-hour period in 2002.

In the video Andre can be heard screaming and shouting "Help me. Help me." He is restrained with belts, face down on a board as the electricity is discharged into his body.

Shock tactics: Treatment or torture?

My apologies for the lack of personal input here, I don't like such posts myself but I just can't right now.

new topics

top topics

<< 1   >>

log in