ASAN Series: JRC Survivor Speaks Out

4 Dec

When this article first appeared here at Left Brain/Right Brain only the first three parts of the 4-part series were online at the ASAN website.  Part 4 is now up and I include it here.

JRC Survivor Speaks Out (Part 4)

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is most infamous for it’s use of electric shocks as a behavior modification method.  But electric shocks are not the only aversive technique they use.  In a four part series, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network presents a rare insider’s view of life at the JRC.   So far three parts have been published.  But rather than wait for part 4, I’ve decided to post links to the articles now.

The series starts with this introduction:

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is a residential facility in Massachusetts where disabled residents are subject to electric shock, sensory assault, food deprivation, prolonged restraint and seclusion, and a host of other horrifying and aversive “treatments.” The United Nations has condemned the JRC’s treatment of its residents as torture, and disability rights advocates have been trying to get the facility shut down for over 30 years. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has previously published an in-depth piece about the history and practices of the JRC, which you can read here.

This post is the first of a four-part series written by Jennifer, a survivor of the JRC. We are extremely grateful to have her permission to publish this brave account of her own experiences with the so-called “treatments” the JRC provides.

Here are links to the series so far:

JRC Survivor Speaks Out (Part 1)

JRC Survivor Speaks Out (Part 2)

JRC Survivor Speaks Out (Part 3)

JRC Survivor Speaks Out (Part 4)

By Matt Carey

One Response to “ASAN Series: JRC Survivor Speaks Out”

  1. Jackie Rose December 6, 2014 at 09:53 #

    I think consequating feelings is a large part of how authority figures like special ed teachers are taught. It took me several years after high school to learn how to feel again. I also think many people underestimate the fear instilled in Autistic people by those in authority.

    I’ve been struggling with the new DAS disability system at Disney parks where they ask you to explain what your needs are to get help. They don’t understand many people when explaining their needs have been invalidated, mocked, and generally psychologically abused by authority figures when asking for help. It’s not, “Will this authority figure hurt me?” it’s “How much will they hurt me this time?” The anxiety of explaining your needs only to have your cry for help ignored is overwhelming. Many Autistic people have been taught in special ed to feel guilty for asking for help, even punished for it.

    My point in stating this is very similar practices of controlling people with Autism are happening outside the JRC which allow for a place like JRC to exist. In fact I doubt there’s anyone with Autism who’s been subjected to a public institution that hasn’t been controlled in a way a person without Autism wouldn’t have been. It’s virtually impossible to ask for help and expect you’ll receive it when you have Autism. It’s always a surprise when someone is willing to understand. Most people without Autism are blessed to know they can ask for help without inviting judgment, abuse.

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