A Pleasant Shock: The Truth About Autism

The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, MA recently came under fire after staff members were discovered using shock therapy on students with autism. These students are labeled as some of the “hardest-to-treat” cases of autism; many exhibit self-injuring behavior, which is some of “the most difficult behavior associated with autism and other intellectual disabilities.” However, the FDA is now investigating the Judge Rotenberg Center after reports that the electric skin shocks are abusive and cause permanent damage. One student said the shocks felt like “being stung by a thousand bees.”

Shock therapy and similar treatments are often borne out of a belief that autism is a wholly negative diagnosis. However, several quotes exist that belie this construct. Among them:

“If an individual has not been taught certain skills, it is never too late to start. People on the autism spectrum can always keep learning.” –Temple Grandin

“A child with autism sees all things differently than we do… and can perceive things in ways we could never imagine.” –Anonymous

“Some of the most wonderful people are ones who don’t fit into boxes.” –Tori Amos

“Autism may make my child how he is, but it doesn’t make him who he is.” –Stuart Duncan

“Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.” –Paul Collins

“I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.” –Jerry Newport

“Autism: Where the “randomness of life” collides and clashes with an individual’s need for sameness.” –Eileen Miller

“ABA never promised that it could make children normal. Just indistinguishable from normal.” –James Copland, M.D.

“The tragedy isn’t autism; the tragedy is the lack of understanding of autism.” –Paul Isaacs

“Skin Shocks Used at Massachusetts School Draw FDA Investigation.” http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/09/14/skin-shocks-used-at-massachusetts-school-draw-fda-investigation/

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