ABC Nightline video on the Judge Rotenberg Center

1 Jul

“No detrimental effects whatsoever”. That’s what Matthew Isreal has to say about the shocks used as aversives. I somehow remain unconvinced. The Judge Rotenberg Center has now come under the scrutiny of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, who has called on the Obama administration to investigate the center.

Obviously, major electrical shocks can be quite harmful. The most serious physical damage occurs when current passes through organs, like the heart. The JRC device appears to be designed to keep the shocks local. At about 50 seconds into the video they apply an electric shock from one of the JRC’s devices to the Nightline commentator. The shock is applied to her arm, but watch her leg twitch. The effects aren’t exactly localized, are they? That is troublesome to me because we don’t know what is going on internally from the shock.

As to emotional long term side effects, who knows? Seriously, can Dr. Isreal really make the claim of “no detrimental effects whatsoever”? Based on what evidence?

From a previous press release criticizing the JRC

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton is believed to be the only facility in the country that uses often painful electric shock therapy on disabled children in order to alter behavior. In 2007, the State launched a criminal investigation into an incident where a prank phone call to the school led to the repeated electric shocking of two individuals in the dead of night. One of them, a child, was shocked 29 times, the other was shocked 77 times – sometimes while restrained, causing burns so severe they needed to be treated at a hospital. That investigation is apparently ongoing. In October 2009, the JRC made headlines again when Director Matthew Israel was fined by the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure for allowing 14 unlicensed employees at the school to use the title “psychologist.”

http://abcnews.go.com/assets/player/walt2.6/flash/SFP_Walt.swf

91 Responses to “ABC Nightline video on the Judge Rotenberg Center”

  1. Norton Gunthorpe July 1, 2010 at 18:36 #

    Was the shock the reporter got set at the Maximum Zap a child at the JRC should/would receive?

    Here in Wales, electric shock collars for dogs have just been banned.

  2. Kent July 2, 2010 at 13:34 #

    Only 1 comment? Great that you covered something important, but it speaks volumes about what people really don’t want to talk or discuss about. Don’t ya think? Post something about Jenny McCarthy and I’m sure there will be a storm in the comments section. The lack of interest demonstrated by the scant 1 comment tells me people have their priorities screwed up.

    I see Israel continues to dive into his ancient 16mm and VHS tapes. Only in Matthew Israel’s mind could someone with a learning disability and mental retardation not suffer from constant shocking.

    To the questioner above, the shock given to the reporter was from an earlier PrimeTime Live segment several years ago. I have that segment saved on my computer. She did not receive the highest level of shock, she received the lowest level according to her report in 2007. It was a level 1. There are 4 levels. She should have made that clear in this report.

  3. Synesthesia July 2, 2010 at 15:12 #

    This has been bothering me for years because this place is in my state.
    They are constantly trying to get people to work there. i wonder why.
    It just doesn’t seem morally right to shock not only the disabled, but troubled teenagers. I can’t understand why this place even exists still. How does it make sense to shock a person who is hurting themselves?
    And those teens, why did they shock them 77 and 29 times?
    Doesn’t that seem like… I don’t know… Torture? You really aren’t even allowed to do that to prisoners, let alone children.

    Also, I got to admit having Jenny McCarthy spread inaccurate information about autism isn’t a help. AoA had a post about this, but of course, it’s the evils of vaccines. JRC Has been doing cruel adversives for YEARS. I can’t understand why it’s allowed.

    • Sullivan July 2, 2010 at 21:26 #

      Synethesia,

      I’ve checked periodically and there do seem to be job openings pretty much all the time at JRC.

      Here’s one for a teacher-

      Special education school in Canton, MA (www.judgerc.org) seeks fully MA licensed Special Needs teachers starting at $50,000. Excellent benefits. Vacation buyback option and tuition reimbursement. Small classes. Team environment. Great teaching resources/support. State-of-the-art behavioral teaching systems.

      “crisis specialists” get $18/hour

      Crisis Specialists–$18/hour
      Special needs school in Canton seeks strong individuals to execute behavior modification treatment and manage crises with conduct-disordered youths. Excellent advancement opps. & benefits.Varied hours & some possible weekend

      Mental health assistant–$11.80-$13.30

      Job Description:
      Special Needs School, JRC is Seeking to Fill the Following Position:
      Educational /Residential special needs school in Canton, MA seeking
      Mental Health Assistant
      32 hours
      Overnight schedule

      Sorry, but I look at that and thing–this must be a person who is watching the monitors and is ready to apply shocks.

  4. Dawn July 2, 2010 at 16:20 #

    @Kent: I didn’t see the Nightline report but you say that they used a segment from years ago about the shock? I wonder why on earth they didn’t have a Nightline reporter get shocked.

    This absolutely appalls me. I can’t imagine doing that to anything, human or animal. We have regulations about when and how police can use tasers but they think it’s OK to shock children many more times? That is sick.

    I understand that some mentally retarded people can be very difficult to deal with. Some are dangerous to others only because they are larger/stronger than their caregivers. I can’t imagine that these children are doing this with malice aforethought. On the otherhand,the employees at the JRC certainly are!

  5. Kent July 2, 2010 at 18:41 #

    @Dawn

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2007/08/school-shock

    Click to access school_report.pdf

    These are the definitive reports on JRC. Read them.

  6. C July 2, 2010 at 20:56 #

    I don’t care if they’ve engineered these things so that there are “no detrimental (physical) effects whatsoever”. First of all, even if they think they have, the burns on the person who received multiple repeated shocks would seem to indicate otherwise. But getting caught up in that argument is just what Israel would want us to do.

    Secondly, it’s not the physical effects that primarily bother me (though they do). The much more important effects are the long lasting psychological effect on a person from being subjected to being shocked at will by others, for transgressions they may or may not understand. This is torture, plain and simple.

    That anyone can ethically justify treating another human being (no matter how big they are, and what their mental status) this way just boggles my mind.

    We don’t tolerate animals being treated like this.

    They need to STOP. THIS. NOW.

    Joe

  7. Club 166 July 2, 2010 at 21:04 #

    Looks like my comment got lost. I’ll try again. 😦

    I don’t care if zapping the people produces “No detrimental (physical) effects whatsoever.” Even if the machines have been re-designed such that this is true, that’s beside the point (The burns on the person who was shocked repeatedly would seem to indicate that this is NOT true, however). This is the argument that Israel wants us to get bogged down in.

    What is much more important are the long term effects on people who have been shocked repeatedly at the will of others, for transgressions that they may (or may not) understand. To be effectively held prisoner for years, treated like a puppet on a string, and shocked repeatedly when you don’t comply with every little demand that is put on you. This is torture, plain and simple. And it is NOT right to treat anyone this way, no matter how big they are, or how low their IQ is.

    We don’t allow animals to be treated this way.

    We just need them to STOP. THIS. NOW.

    Joe

  8. stanley seigler July 2, 2010 at 21:06 #

    [kent say] These are the definitive reports on JRC. Read them

    indeed…definitive, measured, and fair (in my opine)…interesting to note BRI now JRC agreed to stop physical punishment in CA in 1982..the ref 2007 MJ report say:

    [quote] Israel was in the news again in 1981, when another student, 14-year-old Danny Aswad, died while strapped facedown to his bed. In 1982, the California Department of Social Services compiled a 64-page complaint that read like a catalog of horrors, describing students with bruises, welts, and cuts. It also accused Israel of telling a staff member “to grow his fingernails longer so he could give an effective pinch.”…In 1982, the facility settled with state officials and agreed to stop using physical punishments. Now called Tobinworld, and still run by Judy Weber, it is a $10-million-a-year organization operating day schools near Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Rotenberg Center considers itself a “sister school” to Tobinworld, and Israel makes frequent trips to California to visit Weber. The two were married last year. [unquote]

    the LA chapter of ASA (then NSAC) was instrumental in stopping BRI abuse/torture…also interesting to note the Autism Society of America (ASA) did not take position then and has not taken a position now on JRC…if latter incorrect pls advise…many at JRC are autistic.

    stanley seigler

  9. Kent July 2, 2010 at 23:14 #

    What’s especially interesting is that the owner of this blog, Kevin Leitch, created the Autism Hub and in the Hub’s aggregation feed, at one time, was an individual that defended against calling what JRC and Matthew Israel does as NOT torture. I understand that at the time of this, Mr. Leitch was not the administrator, yet he retained considerable influence over what was included in the Hub, even though he did not exercise such influence. There have been so called behaviorists on the Hub that have defended Matthew Israel’s position that level 1-4 electric shocks are not torture. It should be noted that it was Dave Siedel, the previous administrator of the autism hub that allowed a blog that defended Israel’s non-torture position to remain on the Hub before its meltdown. It would be refreshing to read that it was a mistake for this blog to ignore the position of the former administrator to allow such defense of torture while he retained such a pivotal influence over its direction. If he says he didn’t have any influence over his creation, so be it. Now is his time to join the UN in declaring that this torture is unacceptable and declare that it was wrong for the former administrator of the Autism Hub to allow a behaviorist that supported the “non-torture” argument to be a member of the Autism Hub.

    • Kev July 3, 2010 at 17:25 #

      You don’t half talk shit at times Kent 🙂

      a) When I gave up control of the Hub, I gave up any and all control of it
      b) Those running it have no interest in supporting any of the methods used by the JRC. Good grief.

  10. stanley seigler July 3, 2010 at 20:50 #

    [kent say] at one time, was an individual that defended against calling what JRC and Matthew Israel does as NOT torture

    hard to understand…just as is ASA not calling JRC programs torture…still less understandable is that for JRC cost ($200-250,000) one on one, 24/7, support could be provided and would be more successful than JRC programs…

    well maybe not that hard…JRC has had limited success…but the evil far out weighs the good and other programs could have been as/more effective.

    stanley seigler

  11. Kent July 4, 2010 at 17:28 #

    “Those running it have no interest in supporting any of the methods used by the JRC. Good grief.”

    I never argued they supported it but they supported the JRC. But the administrator allowed someone that mischaracterized and ridiculed the notion that electric shock therapy on children and adults with learning disabilities and mental retardation was NOT torture. That was the point, not that you were in control of the Hub but that you were silent and didn’t wield any influence or participate in the discussion affirming that electric shock is torture. Silence is just as bad in my opinion.

    You should have participated.

  12. Kent July 4, 2010 at 17:32 #

    “Now is his time to join the UN in declaring that this torture is unacceptable and declare that it was wrong for the former administrator of the Autism Hub to allow a behaviorist that supported the “non-torture” argument to be a member of the Autism Hub.”

    Kev, you still haven’t declared a position on this. Should this blog that declared that Level 1-4 shocks are NOT TORTURE have been removed from a feed with the mission of the Hub?

  13. Kent July 4, 2010 at 17:40 #

    @ Stanley “just as is ASA not calling JRC programs torture”

    Thomas McKean, someone not liked by many on the Hub, was instrumental in getting the JRC removed from ASA’s national list of vendors and removed from their annual convention.

  14. Arthur Golden July 4, 2010 at 18:47 #

    53 hours ago, I posted a comment in reply to “advocateautie” on the first blog entry on JRC. I was in a rush and I did not notice this second blog entry until right now. I would not repeat the original comment from “advocateautie” who seems to have disappeared but if anyone is curious, it is found on the blog entry “UN Calls Shock Treatment at Judge Rotenberg Center ‘Torture’.” I would be pleased to get any replies here, including from Kent. So here is my comment from the first blog entry on JRC:

    advocateautie,

    1. Did anyone try Daily Life Therapy? If so, what happened? If not, why not?

    2. Did anyone try Facilitated Communication? If so, what happened? If not, why not?

    3. Please quantify the actual data (per week) on “an occasional skin shock.”

    4. Is this the factual information about an actual person or is it hyperbole?

    Arthur Golden

  15. Kev July 4, 2010 at 19:24 #

    Kent, you’re being a jackass. Until you can actually show me some evidence (not on a secret youtube video either thanks) that thats what happened, why should I play your games?

    And by the way, this blog first discussed the JRC in 2006 https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2006/05/the-judge-rotenberg-center/

    Are you in the comment section? If not, why not? Did you have better things to do?

  16. Joseph July 4, 2010 at 23:46 #

    What is Kent talking about exactly, BTW? Was anyone here ever aware of this? Was Dave? Is Kev supposed to keep track of everything that goes on in Hub blogs?

    @Kent: You’re pretty friendly with Harold Doherty, aren’t you? What do you think of his views on the JRC?

  17. stanley seigler July 5, 2010 at 00:24 #

    [kent say] Silence is just as bad in my opinion.

    have no horse in kent/kev discussion…but believe silence is NOT golden re JRC

    [kent say] Thomas McKean, someone not liked by many on the Hub, was instrumental in getting the JRC removed from ASA’s national list of vendors and removed from their annual convention.

    i was aware of this…still looking for ASA to take a position, as believe they should, calling JRC torture…if anyone knows ASA has taken a position…pls advise.

    stanley seigler

  18. Kent July 5, 2010 at 00:30 #

    have no horse in kent/kev discussion…but believe silence is NOT golden re JRC

    @Stanley, ditto. This (JRC) is of more importance than the click bait that is Jenny McCarthy.

  19. Kent July 5, 2010 at 01:32 #

    keV,you wonder where I as? I wonder where you are when this person I referenced above as being some to argue against electric shock as not torture says on the blog post you referenced and ask me to defend my absence writes on this very post you reference “I have no beef with the JRC staff”

    Rather than ask why I was not on your blog at the time is to ask you why YOU didn’t speak up when this Hub blogger YOU admitted wrote this on the very blog post you referenced.

  20. Kent July 5, 2010 at 01:39 #

    “Are you in the comment section? If not, why not? Did you have better things to do?”

    I guess in light of the fact of the above and Jonatthan Smetko’s comment referenced, we should be asking where you were in the comment section of your own blog let Aline relying on me to police your own blog for JRC friendly comments from behaviorists.

    • Kev July 5, 2010 at 08:10 #

      Kent, I really strongly suggest you get a sense of proportion. People will always blog about what interests them, irrespective of ‘prodding’ from anyone else. That will continue on here thanks.

      Now, as I sugest, what you need to do, is start your own blog on subjects that interest you or pursue some form of advocacy that will actually achieve something. At the moment, you’re just being a jackass. And a useless one at that.

  21. Dedj July 5, 2010 at 04:06 #

    Kent, I’m curious, the blog post containing that phrase appears to be a quite simple response to a series of questions by another poster.

    One thing it does not seem to contain is an outright statement that electric shocks can never be torture. Indeed, it ends “but I question the ethics of the continued use of aversive procedures”, which is hardly a vote of support for such aversive procedures.

    If I have missed out any post which expressly re-inforces your claim, you will:

    link directly too it,
    give the authour and time stamp
    demonstrate how it supports your contention.

    At the minute, I appear to be looking right at the post in question, yet I’m seeing nothing like what would need to be there to support your claims.

    You’re not Harold in disguise are you?

  22. Kent July 5, 2010 at 20:41 #

    is start your own blog on subjects that interest you or pursue some form of advocacy that will actually achieve something.

    Kev, I have something called a Vlog. You have even featured it here numerous times. I also suspect I get more hits monthly than this blog.

    • Kev July 6, 2010 at 12:03 #

      Hits I’m afraid Kent are next to useless measurements. Tell me how many Unique Visitors per day you get. LBRB gets between 3500, 4000 per day. If you get more, good for you 🙂

  23. stanley seigler July 6, 2010 at 00:31 #

    [kev say] Now, as I sugest, what you [kent] need to do, is start your own blog on subjects that interest you or pursue some form of advocacy that will actually achieve something. At the moment, you’re just being a jackass. And a useless one at that…

    start your own blog…not sure this is the best suggestion…seems vice pro/con discussions, we would get, eg, kent talking to himself or a few like minded folks agreeing with each…guess this good for egos…not

    best for enlightenment…personally, tho I strongly condemn JRC and it’s not kent’s position (see no redeeming values)…i want to hear the pro JRC folks (might help shut them down)…eg, would like to know why ASA has not condemned JRC.

    Also not sure name calling (personal attacks) adds anything to any discussion.

    OTOH kent did attack kev…blaming him for inacation…would rather have seen pro JRC comments to which kent refered…

    stanley seigler

  24. BA July 6, 2010 at 02:34 #

    Here’s my blog post on this issue. You may feel free to harass me due to my not wanting to choose a black and white position:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/radical-behaviorist/201007/torture-or-treatment

  25. Anne July 6, 2010 at 20:18 #

    Kev, thanks for the link to the four year old discussion of JRC on this blog. Unfortunately, progress in ending these abusive practices has been slow. The sticking point seems to be getting past the argument about the utility of using painful punishment to shape a person’s behavior. Bill Ahearn’s point that only behavioral experts should have a say in the matter I think is misguided, because there’s an ethical dimension to it that transcends arguments about whether it works or not. We as a society need to decide whether the practice of torturing disabled people is acceptable to us regardless of whether it works.

    Kent, you seem to be embroiled in some kind of vendetta right now, and the things you’re saying lately just don’t make sense. I look forward to your getting back on track.

  26. stanley seigler July 7, 2010 at 02:04 #

    [anne say] The sticking point seems to be getting past the argument about the utility of using painful punishment to shape a person’s behavior

    COMMENT
    specific to JRC: the sticking point in MA is political will…JNC (BRI) was shut down in CA in 1982 (see MJ ref and previous post)…dont think any folks in CA have suffered for lack of JRC torture/programs…

    tho JRC the epitome of behaviorism…there are other behaviorists who DO HARM…see ms dawson’s blog…

    stanley seigler

  27. Joseph July 7, 2010 at 02:44 #

    Bill Ahearn’s point that only behavioral experts should have a say in the matter I think is misguided, because there’s an ethical dimension to it that transcends arguments about whether it works or not.

    Exactly. As an example, something that would probably “work” is to nuke Deepwater Horizon. But it could do more harm than good.

    Frontal lobotomies also “work”, but they are not performed anymore. Why?

    (I’m leaving aside the fact that quality evidence for aversive treatment just doesn’t appear to be there, either way.)

    Another argument I’ve read (from a commenter in the other thread) is that shocks are necessary for people with severe mental retardation who are extremely violent toward themselves and others.

    First of all, does the JRC staff only shock people who have severe cognitive disability? No, they do not. So that’s a bogus argument.

    It’s also a false dichotomy. It would be nonsense to suggest, for example, that the only 2 alternatives are frontal lobotomy or self-injury.

  28. stanley seigler July 7, 2010 at 23:00 #

    [joseph say] Lobotomies, nuke Deepwater Horizon,

    excellent analogues

    [he also say] quality evidence for aversive treatment just doesn’t appear to be there…

    as ms dawson points out in her blog…quality evidence also lacking for some non aversive treatments…she says something about promotional science vice real science.

    [aherns say] only behavioral experts…

    like the PhD psychologist who spent 45 mins with my daughter and said she wasn’t autistic…this after 30 some years of psychiatric evaluations from emory to ucla and cedars and 30 years of living with her that prove without a doubt she is classic kanner autistic…didn’t take an expert, any idiot would know she is autistic.

    [anne say] there’s an ethical dimension to it that transcends arguments about whether it works or not.

    …think skinner believed “if it worked, it’s good.”…JRC doesn’t work…or in only very limited cases where other programs would work as well or better…JRC does much harm…makes a mockery of the hippocratic oath

    another analogue: water-boarding…few say it works, most say NO…and other methods work better…water-boarding does much harm to our democray…in addition to not working, JRC and water-boarding do harm to our moral/ethical values.

    stanley seigler

    CORRECTION:
    previous post: JNC (BRI) was shut down in CA in 1982 (7jul020731)
    should read: JRC (BRI) was shut down in CA in 1982

    there is a JNCS in CA that supports my daughter.

  29. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. July 8, 2010 at 07:50 #

    Joe…

    “I don’t care if they’ve engineered these things so that there are “no detrimental (physical) effects whatsoever”. First of all, even if they think they have, the burns on the person who received multiple repeated shocks would seem to indicate otherwise. But getting caught up in that argument is just what Israel would want us to do.”

    Repeated electrical shocks will compromise the integrity of skin tissue, whether Israel likes to think so or not… if he doesn’t believe this, then maybe he should be made to try for himself the effect of – say – 100 skin shocks over the minimum period of time during which a ‘student’ of JRC has had them. The damning report that came out about the place noted well the ‘non-detrimental effects’ of the GED on the kids there…

    “Secondly, it’s not the physical effects that primarily bother me (though they do). The much more important effects are the long lasting psychological effect on a person from being subjected to being shocked at will by others, for transgressions they may or may not understand. This is torture, plain and simple.”

    Basically, this leads to learned helplessness states… these then set the person up for recurrent depression. Permanently.

    “That anyone can ethically justify treating another human being (no matter how big they are, and what their mental status) this way just boggles my mind.”

    Says what kind of person Matthew Israel is, doesn’t it?

    “We don’t tolerate animals being treated like this.”

    Indeed we don’t.

    “They need to STOP. THIS. NOW.”

    They won’t. They need to be forced to stop it, now.

  30. stanley seigler July 8, 2010 at 11:14 #

    in case the following request for help by nancy weiss has not been seen…many thanks and much appreciation to ms weiss

    the following by nancy weiss:

    As many of you know both the US Department of Justice and The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ are
    in the process of conducting investigations into the Judge Rotenberg Center (formerly the Behavior Research Institute). I can provide more information on these efforts if any of you have not seen the recent advocacy efforts
    that led to these investigations.

    I am writing to you as experts in positive behavioral supports and as progressive people within the field who may be able to provide information to these investigations. Both investigating bodies (the DOJ and UN) are
    interested in seeing alternatives to the use of aversives/restraints with people who have severely dangerous behaviors. If you serve people who meet this definition and would be willing to talk with investigators or have investigators visit, please let me know.

    Additionally, both the DOJ and UN are interested in following up on anyone who had been at JRC/BRI and is now being served elsewhere and without the use of painful and restrictive methods.

    If you are serving someone who was previously at JRC/BRI the investigators are interested in learning more. If you know anyone else who is serving someone who was previously at this facility, please feel free to forward this request to them or to any appropriate lists on which you participate.

    Names of past JRC residents do not need to be provided, however if the person or family members have interest in meeting with DOJ or UN investigators, there would be considerable interest in this as well.

    The investigators would like to know the following to the extent it is known:

    * How long was the person at JRC/BRI, for what years, and how old was the person when he/she went there?
    * What is (was) the nature of the person’s disability or issue for which they went to JRC/BRI?
    * What state was the person from when he/she went there and, if known, what state agency, if any, was involved in the placement?
    * What aversive or other restrictive procedures were used on the person at JRC/BRI?
    * When did the person moved out and to what type of setting/situation?
    * Was this move approved/recommended/supported by JRC/BRI?
    * Most importantly, how is the person is doing now:
    * Are any restrictive procedures still used?
    * Has the person’s life improved and how?
    * Have there been any long lasting effects of having been at JRC/BRI?
    * Are the person, family members or agency staff willing to be interviewed by the DOJ or UN investigators (all information will of course be confidential)

    Please contact me if you have information to share or would like more information about these efforts.

    Feel free to forward this email.

    Thank you, Nancy Weiss

  31. Ann July 13, 2010 at 16:30 #

    The consumers treated at JRC have serious self-harming behaviors and cognitive imaprement; the kinds of behaviors most people do not have the opportunity to observe. These behaviors include continuous hitting yourself/head banging until you are blind and have brain hemorrages, biting large chuncks of flesh from yourself, aggression towards others that is life-threatening. Sometimes positive reinforcement alone (earning prizes, activities, etc.) is not the answer for the most extreme self-injurious cases. While other options typically include a barrage of medications, which will cause long-term and often life-threatening side effects, it is more “pleasant” for outsiders to see a “calm” (chemically retsrained) child, than one hooked up to skin shocking probes. Dateline missed the big picture and turned to sensationalism.

  32. Synesthesia July 13, 2010 at 16:42 #

    Are all of the folks who receive this treatment extreme cases?
    Even if they are, I can’t really make sense of trying to make a person stop hurting themselves by hurting them. It doesn’t make sense to me.
    At least if they used drugs or SOMETHING to treat these problems, it would be less cruel than… skin shocks?

  33. stanley seigler July 13, 2010 at 17:50 #

    [ann say] Dateline missed the big picture and turned to sensationalism…the kinds of behaviors [at JRC] most people do not have the opportunity to observe.

    in days of yore when there was no spectrum, severe behavior was observed in my daughters peer group… in spite of this behavior, parents (ASA-LA, then NSAC) were instrumental in closing JRC in CA…

    as mentioned: JRC (BRI) was shut down in CA in 1982 (see MJ ref and previous post)…dont think any folks in CA have suffered for lack of JRC torture/programs…

    in general, dateline sensationalizes and misses a lot…but not that JRC tortures and other programs will work…

    [Synesthesia say] Are all of the folks who receive this treatment extreme cases?

    JRC could not survive on the few much published extreme cases…ie, israel would have to take a major cut to his $400,000/yr salary…

    stanley seigler

  34. stanley seigler July 13, 2010 at 22:51 #

    [Synesthesia say] Are all of the folks who receive this treatment extreme cases?

    [mother jones say] Considering how compelling the “After” footage is, I am surprised to learn that five of the six children featured in it are still here. “This is Caroline,” one of my escorts says an hour or two later as we walk down a corridor. Without an introduction, I would not have known. Caroline, 39, slumps forward in a wheelchair, her fists balled up, head covered by a red helmet. “Blow me a kiss, Caroline,” Israel says. She doesn’t respond.

    the six referenced are JRC’s promo crap…the long term results of all the tortured would be interesting…as would the long term efficacy of many behavior mod (BM) programs…

    anecdotally, i have not seen it (positive results) in my daughters peer group…30 some w/ classic kanner autism and severe behavior issues…and

    as said many times, at ucla a lovaas disciple taught her to button at 4 yo…at 44 she no longer buttons…also see ms. dawson blog re promotional science of behavior mod programs.

    wonder if initials for behavior mod programs promoted by behavioral science…BMs promoted by BS… says anything about what those with special needs are made to endure…

    guess something is better than nothing…especially if done by compassionate individuals vice those with venal pecuniary (j.todd’s scientific for greed) motives.

    for any who have not read the MJ article…please do…a read of ms dawsons blog re promotional science not a bad idea either…

    stanley seigler

  35. Nicholas malkentzos July 17, 2010 at 13:39 #

    I wonder how many of the above posts are from parents with children who are severely effected by autism? How many of you know it alls
    have seen your child and other children with autism so drugged up that they can not walk and their kidney and livers are so toxic with
    Amreica’s MAgic pills and vacines that cure everything! That it TORTURE permanent Torture!! I am a parent yes a PARENT with first hand experience on what it is like to LIVE with a child who is sevely effected by autism. And it would not surprise me if most of the arm chair experts who voiced their opinion above were the same people who give parents dirty looks when their child is having a tantrum in the supermarket. My child is not in JRC but I am considering placing him their because I do not want my child used as a guinea pig by the pharmasuetical companies who caused the autism in the first place with their vaccines. I went to visit the JRC center how many of you have?

  36. Synesthesia July 17, 2010 at 18:01 #

    No. Just no. First of all, I don’t glare at parents when a child is having a tantrum. The poor child is usually probably worn out, tired and hungry, and second of all, you’re talking about taking someone who already is overwhelmed with sensory issues even more than I am, and letting people shock them like they’re a lab rat?
    You’re talking about inflicting a child who cannot communicate their pain and letting people give them excruciating 2 second skin shocks?
    There’s no way I’d allow that no matter how autistic my child was. It’s likely that I may have an autistic child, because I suspect I may have autism.
    There’s not even solid science proving vaccines cause autism, let alone that this sort of treatment, which to me, is pure total cruelty, is actually solidly effective.

  37. stanley seigler July 17, 2010 at 18:52 #

    [Nicholas malkentzos say] My child is not in JRC but I am considering placing him their because I do not want my child used as a guinea pig by the pharmasuetical companies who caused the autism in the first place with their vaccines. I went to visit the JRC center how many of you have?

    i have not visited JRC…did visit JRC/BRI in CA circa 1980..tho, the aversives used were not as bad as those now used by JRC…they were most inappropriate and;

    In 1982, the facility [JRC/BRI] settled with state officials and agreed to stop using physical punishments. (MJ article)

    evidently israel believes torture necessary in MA, but not in CA…there are as severe behavior issues in CA as in MA

    the alternate is NOT big pharma using your precious child as a guinea pig…sadly the alternates are limited…tho, it shouldn’t be that difficult for $200-250,000 to find or develop
    more appropriate supports…eg, one could hire a compassionate 1:1, live with, professional and a relief.

    [Nicholas malkentzos say] How many of you know it alls, etc

    that there are know-it-alls justifies torture how…it really doesnt matter they dont have your hands on experience…torture is torture…and not effective.

    stanley seigler

  38. Nicholas malkentzos July 18, 2010 at 04:15 #

    What makes you an expert on torture? The skin shock procedure done at JRC is only done under extreme circumstances; Which is more Humane letting a child gauge their eyes out” Bang their head? bite their tongue,fingers? Pull their nails off? If you witnessed your child or any child doing this to themselves maybe your arm chair outlook would be a little different. And yes what is the alternative? The politically correct thing is to drug them up and forget them. Yes it
    is so Humane to watch a child with so much energy and life be reduced to a zombie who can not even move or talk and has to deficate on themselves most of the day and night because their liver and kidneys no longer function. These are the fairly short term effects and no one knows what will happen long term.
    Its great to be an arm chair expert yes I wish I could live in la la land and think that the government is going to give a parent 250,000 to hire someone ( Yes someone is going to work 24/7 to take care of a child that may spit,punch.scratch and bite them. People are linning up for such jobs. 200000 sounds like a lot of money but you see that is the trouble with people who do not have a clue do the math Stanely we are not talking about a 9 to 5, 40 hrs a week job for 200-250000) My child and children like him need 24 hr 7 days
    a week attention. So we are talking about hiring a minimum of 5 or 6 people for 200-250000 turns into 30 or 40000 which is not that much
    for the this type of job. Plus there are social workers and other administrative costs that are included in that 200=250000 so it would be even less.

    My wife and I have taken the same medication that was given to my son and have experienced a similar elcetric
    skin shock that they use at JRC and the medication was by far more painful and the pain lasted a lot longer.

    Its easy to say I would never do this or that when you are not in the situation in which I and many parents are in. I do not expect you to understand if I were you I wouldn;t either. Instead of spending your time being critical of those that are trying to help
    how about coming up with a PRACTICAL alternative.

  39. Synesthesia July 18, 2010 at 06:04 #

    First of all, again, do they really only do this for extreme cases or do they pull out the desperate cases whenever JRC gets any sort of scrutiny to say, this treatment is essential?
    Somehow, this just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s as if they give you two choices, these painful shocks or drugs. Is there no in between? The fact that JRC doesn’t even bother to look into alternatives, their past use of adversives, and the fact that they have such a high turn over rate that they always are offering jobs makes me suspicious. I wouldn’t trust these folks with a rat, let along a vulnerable child. Especially one with disabilities.
    What do other organizations and facilities do in these cases? Does JRC look into the causes of self injury, or do they just break out the shock pack.
    I don’t understand how so many folks can be so suspicious of “Big Pharma” yet when it comes to folks like Matthew Israel doing things to children that can cause first degree burns or risky supplements you get folks saying, “You don’t understand what this is like.” But I wonder if folks are so desperate that it’s easy for folks like Israel to take advantage of that.

  40. stanley seigler July 18, 2010 at 12:22 #

    [Nicholas malkentzos] What makes you an expert on torture? The skin shock procedure done at JRC is only done under extreme circumstances…

    not an expert on anything…call it punishment if you prefer…i prefer torture, seems more appropriate…that DOJ, the UN, numerous professionals call it torture…and most if not all the states, except MA, ban adversives used by JRC… speaks volumes that it is torture…cruel and unusal punishment, if you prefer…

    that torture is used only in extreme cases is contrary to what the MJ article says and what i witnessed in lalaland (JRC/BRI, circa 1980)… MJ say, Employees shocked him for aggressive behavior, he says, but also for minor misdeeds, like yelling or cursing… Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks.. Slightly more than half the residents are what the school calls “high functioning”: kids like Rob and Antwone, who have diagnoses like attention-deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other emotional problems.

    as mentioned JRC could not survive on the few much published extreme cases…israel would have to take a major cut to his $400,000/yr salary…

    [Nicholas malkentzos say] wish I could live in la la land and think that the government is going to give a parent 250,000 to hire someone

    you dont have to live in lalaland…60 percent [at JRC] come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. These states pay JRC $200-250,000 to torture/punish children…if states can pay JRC $200-250,000, they can/should pay that amount for a program that does not torture.

    [Nicholas malkentzos say] someone is going to work 24/7 to take care of a child that may spit,punch.scratch and bite them.

    my daughter has 24/7, 1:1 (a team) support……as do many in lalaland… all who have behaviors you describe have 1:1…her behaviors were not as extreme as what you describe and i have witnessed…but she had serious behavior issues…tho she will always need 24/7, 1:1 support at 44 she has no behavior issues…well minor ones by comparison.

    [Nicholas malkentzos say] Instead of spending your time being critical of those that are trying to help how about coming up with a PRACTICAL alternative.

    critical of JRC because torture is wrong and there are pratical alternates…

    when JRC/BRI agreed to stop using physical punishments they came up with pratical alternates…perhaps JRC should use some of the programs their sister school (Tobinworld in CA) uses…

    there is little if any long term JRC success stories…eg,

    MJ say: Considering how compelling the “After” footage is, I am surprised to learn that five of the six children featured in it are still here. “This is Caroline,” one of my escorts says an hour or two later as we walk down a corridor. Without an introduction, I would not have known. Caroline, 39, slumps forward in a wheelchair, her fists balled up, head covered by a red helmet. “Blow me a kiss, Caroline,” Israel says. She doesn’t respond.

    stanley seigler

    NOTE: most statements are from the mother jones (MJ) 2007 report. as mentioned anyone who has not read MJ should.

  41. Nicholas malkentzos July 18, 2010 at 21:32 #

    Call it whatever you want! Demonize whoever you want! But if something helps my child or any other child in the long run with no long term side effects and prevents them from injuring themselves and everyone else then I will support it!.

    Ed Ferry who spent 5 years attached to Dr Israel’s device, says it helps to control his autism. ”The beauty of it is there’s no side effects,”

    Stanely says “when JRC/BRI agreed to stop using physical punishments they came up with pratical alternates…perhaps JRC should use some of the programs their sister school (Tobinworld in CA) uses… ”
    What ere the practical alternatives uses WHAT?????

    “MJ say: Considering how compelling the “After” footage is, I am surprised to learn that five of the six children featured in it are still here”
    They are still there because it WORKS!! and it is not Torture to them only to people who are misinformed and have never taken the time to investigate or experience what it is they do at JRC now in 2010 not what their sister school did 30 years ago!!

    Regarding Mother Jones report I have not read it and have no desire to read reorts taken out of context and written by someone with a
    agenda which may appear to be noble but in reality can cause many children to die! just like the UN report. Unless mother Jones or anyone else has a child that has not responded to any Politically correct feel good therapies and is in danger of injurying themselves and do not have any viable safe alternatives I have no use for them.

    I would rather hear from parents or relatives with children who attend JRC like Matthew Slaff’s grandmother. “I am 95 years old, very much capable of speaking for myself and my family, and capable of speaking out against injustices done to people who are handicapped. Matthew goes to Judge Rotenberg Center.

    Matthew had been in and out of hospitals and was unresponsive to positive reinforcements and only became worse from the medications he received. Finally, despite all attempts to keep him safe, he put his head through a spike and spent months in a hospital and had surgery to close his head. Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts was the only place that was willing to take him from the hospital where he had spent more than five months. JRC is the only place where he has had a comfortable life for himself. Matthew would not be alive if it were not for JRC.

    Matthew and children with problems like his who could not be helped in any other way, and who are now at Judge Rotenberg Center and doing very well, will certainly die as others have when they left JRC.

    Our family is very happy with the life Matthew has at JRC and he tells us he is happy too. He travels with his family, goes out on day trips regularly with his school, and calls me on the telephone a few times a week and I speak to him from my home in New York City. I often visit him with other family members. We could never imagine unfortunate people like Matthew could have such a wonderful place to stay.

    Those who have not had a child like ours should not talk about “Our Children” or presume to understand. To the person (Mother Jones) that has written this horribly biased article I say: You have never lived with our children nor studied their conditions. THESE ARE NOT YOUR CHILDREN! Your deliberate sensationalized misrepresentation of Judge Rotenberg Center is false, possibly for your own greed. If these children are hurt because of your statements, you will need to live with your own conscience because other children have died when they left JRC. You know there has been no other treatment for them that has worked and that is why each case has been through an impartial court hearing that has determined that they must have this treatment. “

  42. Nicholas malkentzos July 18, 2010 at 22:32 #

    Their is a high turn over rate @ JRC for a reason they video tape eeveryone all the time which is quit comforting to a parent
    but not to the many (Not all) employees who choose not to do what they are suppose to be doing. They are weeded out a lot faster @ JRC then @ places which have little supervision.

    Many know it alls say that there are plenty of alternatives but never
    say or write what they are when speaking about JRC’ techniques to control and modify negative behavior. Show me the reports, studies and data on all of these alternatives working with severly behavioral children.
    Dr. Isreal Takes DATA something foreign to the know it alls that support and use big pharma. It would be nice to think that taking a pill can solve everyones problems but they do not they cause more problems then they help when it comes to treating children with behavior issues. It addresses the symptoms not the cause. Psychotropic drugs cause additional problems that JRC techniques do not.
    You or no one else has to worry about parents @ the JRC being taken advantage of they are all their by choice no one forced them unlike
    Big pharma who pays off politicians to make laws that forces kids to take vaccines filled with mercury and alumunium!!
    “What the other organization do” when behavior modification does not work they all DRUG the children into Zombies which is far more torturous then anything done @ JRC.

  43. Mike Stanton July 18, 2010 at 22:36 #

    Nicholas Malkentzos

    being the parent of a severely disabled child does not give you the right to cast slurs on the character and motivation of those with whom you disagree. Nor does it give you the right to invent your own facts. You mention drugs but do not specify which ones are supposed to cause liver and kidney damage. Nor do you specify how liver damage relates to bowel problems. I find your passing reference to vaccines instructive. Are you saying that vaccines cause challenging behaviour?

    You invite us to do the math. JRC is advertizing for crisis intervention specialists
    CRISIS SPECIALISTS
    $18/hour
    Special needs school in Canton seeks strong individuals to execute behavior modification treatment and manage crises with conduct-disordered youths. Excellent advancement opps. & benefits.Varied hours & some possible weekends.

    Evenings and weekends come cheaper at between $13.50 and $16.50 an hour.

    If we take the middling figure of $16 an hour you could hire a team of six at JRC rates for $140,000 a year. That is $23,000 dollars a year,rather less than the $30K to $40K you think is a reasonable wage. Of course that is just care and control. Education comes extra. JRC charge $100K for tuition and pay their teachers $50K starting salary.

    When you bear in mind that JRC’s staff student ratio is not one to one but ten to one it is obvious to anyone who does the math that a humane home programme could manage and educate these children at no extra cost. But never mind the dollars. What about the facts. When JRC was investigated in 2007 this is what they found. Thanks to Cory Doctorow for <a href="http://boingboing.net/2007/08/30/torture-school-subje.html">this excellent summary

    * Staff shock kids for “nagging, swearing, and failing to maintain a neat appearance” and once threatened to shock a girl who sneezed and then asked for a tissue.
    * Some students must “earn” meals by not displaying certain behaviors. Otherwise they are “made to throw a predetermined caloric portion of their food into the garbage.”
    * When students enter and leave the school each day, “almost all” are wearing some type of restraints, such as handcuffs or leg shackles.
    * “Students may be restrained”–on a four-point restraint board or chair–“for extensive periods of time (e.g. hours or intermittently for days).”
    * Some students are shocked while strapped to the restraint board.
    * A “majority” of employees “serving as classroom teachers” are “not certified teachers.”
    * Rotenberg’s marketing reps bestow presents on prospective families–“e.g. a gift bag for the family, basketball for the student.”
    * Although the center has described its shock device as “approved” by the fda in its promotional materials, it “has not been approved.”
    * The facility collects “comprehensive data” on behaviors it seeks to eliminate, but “there was no evidence of the collection of data on replacement or positive behaviors.”
    * The facility makes no assessment of the “possible collateral effects of punishment such as depression, anxiety, and/or social withdrawal.”

  44. Mike Stanton July 18, 2010 at 23:21 #

    Nicholas Malkentzos

    Mother Jones is not a parent. It is an online newspaper. Its report on JRC was based on an investigation by the New York state education Department which investigated JRC as many of its students come from New York. You may wish to read the full report which was published on the Boston Globe website. http://boston.com/news/daily/15/school_report.pdf It is 26 pages long. Please provide references for your claims that people died because they left JRC. Please explain these documented cases of deaths at JRC.

    December 19, 1990, Linda Cornelison, a patient who was mentally retarded and non-verbal, died of causes related to stomach perforations and ulcers. The Center failed to properly diagnose these apparently pre-existing conditions, and failed to provide an appropriate diet and treatment. When symptoms occurred that should have provided an opportunity for further examination, the JRC instead opted to punish her with a plethora of aversive treatments, including 61which were administered on the day of her death. Linda, who had weighed 120 pounds when she began the Center’s food program, weighed just 90 pounds at the time of her death, which was less than one year later. source

    On the 23rd of July, 1985, Vincent Milletich, a 22 year old student with Autism, died at the JRC’s (Then Behavior Research Institute) group home in Seehonk, Mass. According to a New York Times article, “he (Vincent) had been shackled, fitted with a helmet and forced to listen to static noise through earphones. The Rhode Island medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Mr. Milletich said the victim died of asphyxiation but said it was not known what cut off his oxygen supply.” The article goes on to say, “Judge Ryan said Mr. Israel ”was negligent in authorizing the use of this helmet without having an expert in helmet construction design the helmet or subject it to a safety inspection.” source

    On page 25 of Dick Sobsey’s book, “Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities The End of Silent Acceptance?” Paul H Brookes Pub. Co. (January 1994), the writer reveals, “Vincent Milletich died after BRI workers `pushed his head between his legs, cuffed his hands behind his back, put a helmet on his head with radio static hissing into his ears and masked his face. He went limp and was declared dead on arrival minutes later at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.’

  45. Synesthesia July 18, 2010 at 23:28 #

    Just because they aren’t my children, doesn’t mean I can’t be concerned for them.
    The thing is these children ARE being hurt for hurting themselves. I can’t understand why folks don’t see that as… morally wrong. There seems to be way too much room for abuse with a system like that, especially if the cases are desperate.
    How can they be against something like this due to greed when Israel is making 6 figures off of these kids?

  46. Nicholas malkentzos July 19, 2010 at 00:25 #

    I have no problem with people being concerned with my child or anyone elses child but to pass judgement on my or any other parents descisions on what they believe is best for their child is another story. To critisize and stop a therapy that can save a child’s life because it may temporariy hurt them? What you fail to comprehend is they are our children for their whole life and we have to consider what is best for them for the rest of their life not just a few days. Yes they get hurt temprarily for hurting themselves but this is temporary and what is the alternative which you FAIL to recognize or take into consideration! The alternative which 99% of schools use is medication which have a lot more serious and permanent side effects.
    Those doctors promoting medication make much more then Dr. Isreal. Dr Isreal can make much more money getting kick backs from big pharma like many doctors do without any critisism from the obliviuos give me a pill to solve all my problems public!

    I find it Morally wrong to give a child a drug that will make them
    like a zombie and know that it is damaging their liver and kidneys and not having a clue what the drug will do to their body 20 or even 10 years from now. That is the case with most of the drugs that are “tested” on oue children. How can this be moral to anyone????

  47. stanley seigler July 19, 2010 at 00:58 #

    Nicholas malkentzos say re:

    re: Call it whatever you want! Demonize whoever you want! But if something helps my child or any other child in the long run with no long term side effects and prevents them from injuring themselves and everyone else then I will support it!.

    you sound like a true believer…however there are long term side effects and alternates.

    re: Ed Ferry who spent 5 years attached to Dr Israel’s device, says it helps to control his autism. ”The beauty of it is there’s no side effects,”

    see MJ for anecdotes saying its hell… there are no side effects…he/you know this how…

    re: when JRC/BRI agreed to stop using physical punishments they came up with piratical alternates…perhaps JRC should use some of the programs their sister school (Tobinworld in CA) uses… ”
    What ere the practical alternatives uses WHAT?????

    i do not have specifics…check with israel…his wife runs tobinworld today

    re: They are still there because it WORKS!! and it is not Torture to them only to people who are misinformed and have never taken the time to investigate or experience what it is they do at JRC now in 2010 not what their sister school did 30 years ago!!

    you may be naive to think its not torture to them…sister school still around in 2010 (grosses $10 million/yr) and is not using aversives…as mentioned above chk with israel he can give you more precise information…

    i stay as far from tobinworld as possible…btw if israel really believes shocks are the only alternate…shouldnt he shut tobinworld down…none can be cured/helped there…

    is caroline an example of how it works…MJ say: “This is Caroline,” one of my escorts says an hour or two later as we walk down a corridor. Without an introduction, I would not have known. Caroline, 39, slumps forward in a wheelchair, her fists balled up, head covered by a red helmet. “Blow me a kiss, Caroline,” Israel says. She doesn’t respond.

    re: I have no use for them [MJ, etal].

    spoken like true believer…none so blind as those who will not see/read…

    re: I would rather hear from parents or relatives.

    MJ provides these…sad you will not read…MJ, eg, “It was no mystery where this recurring nightmare came from—not A Clockwork Orange or 1984, but the years he spent confined in America’s most controversial “behavior modification” facility.” …this a side effect, no?

    re Matthew and children with problems like his

    what about those at JRC who are not like matt

    re: Our family is very happy with the life Matthew has at JRC and he tells us he is happy too. He travels with his family, goes out on day trips regularly with his school, and calls me on the telephone a few times a week and I speak to him from my home in New York City. I often visit him with other family members. We could never imagine unfortunate people like Matthew could have such a wonderful place to stay.

    so very glad for matt (guess he would not be happy any place else) and his family…its not wonderful for all not like matt (many at JRC)…thought you said earlier your child was not at JRC…but you were thinking of enrolling him…is matt your son…in any event JRC is not wonderful for many at JRC…sad you will not read MJ.

    re: Those who have not had a child like ours should not talk about “Our Children” or presume to understand.

    i have lived with autism for 40 some years…have seen it first hand from emory in atlanta to ucla and jrc/bri in lalaland…you should not presume i do not understand…

    we were fortunate our non verbal, severely, autistic daughter (spoiled only child) did not exhibit the worst behavior…you are lucky you can talk with matt…butt;

    have seen some of the worst behavior issues…eg, behaviors caused freeway wreck, tv thrown though window, life threatening self abuse…

    re: To the person (Mother Jones) that has written this horribly biased article I say: You have never lived with our children nor studied their conditions.

    if you have not read MJ, where’s the opine its horribly biased coming from…i have lived with our children (40 some years) and read the article: the article is fair in my opine…

    you didn’t have to live in abu ghraib, gitmo or auschwitz to know torture…it was reported with reasonable accuracy.

    you do not have to justify your decision to place matt in JRC to anyone…you and your wife are the only ones qualified to make that decision…tho, you may have to justify it to yourself and matt one day…you do the best you can, given what know at the time…and live with the consequences or rewards…

    that said dont think its appropriate you sell it as the only alternate to severe behavior issues.

    stanley seigler

  48. Mike Stanton July 19, 2010 at 19:18 #

    Nicholas seems stuck in a groove. Big pharma meds for life with nasty side effects versus short term skin shock with no side effects. Except that many of the people at JRC are on long term skin shocks of increasing intensity as they become habituated to the pain. And many of them are not being treated for self injury. They are being punished for non-compliance: getting out of their seat – skin shock; swearing – skin shock; strapped into restraints and repeatedly shocked when they cannot move. Torture plain and simple.

    How about managing serious self injurious behaviour without drugs and without inflicting pain? Studio 3 in the UK are leading experts on managing challenging behaviour. They work with the National Autistic Society. Here is their position paper on serious self injurious behaviour.

    They actually do know it all, have seen it all and worked successfully with examples of severe challenging and self injurious behaviour in schools, hospitals and secure units. I am sure there are similar organizations in the USA. If not, invite them over and listen and learn.

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