Shocks from Santa and JRC Footnotes

Shocks from Santa and JRC Footnotes

As a result of receiving several communications from Matthew L. Israel, PhD., director of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), NotionsCapital will be posting further about JRC and its electric shock aversion therapy practices. I do this with some reluctance, as JRC has successfully converted notoriety into marketing, presenting itself as the “Treatment of Last Resort” for exhausted parents when in fact other alternatives are available.

In the meantime, these notes:

The Judge Rotenberg Center received a Christmas present from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: a one-year extension of its license, although JRC is required to prove it uses painful skin shocks “only for the most dangerous and self-destructive behaviors, and must also must show the treatments reduce those behaviors,” according to AP/Boston Globe. The standard of proof that will be required by the agency is not noted in the article.

Electric skin shock aversion therapy (“CIM 35-23.1 Electroversion Therapy, Electro-shock Therapy, Noxious Faradic Stimulation”) has been disallowed by Medicare for treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction as ineffective.

The Hot-Shot Power-Mite animal prod (above) was used in human electric skin shock aversion therapy with negative results, yet FDA approved the SIBIS (below) and GED skin shock systems for humans. Although forbidden on grounds of animal cruelty, the Hot-Shot Power-Shot is used in professional rodeos to make animals “buck.”

Virtually all authors of the papers purporting to “prove” the effectiveness of JRC’s version of aversion therapy (not the only method of aversion therapy, just the only one still using electric shocks) are associated with JRC. None are by completely independent authors. None of the papers seems to have been accepted by publications using “blind” peer review, the standard for medical and scientific publication.

The continued existence of JRC (also known as JREC, as it seems to be changing its name to the “Judge Rotenberg Education Center”) may simply be a measure of the emotional impact of parental desperation on authorities, not due to any unusual record of therapeutic success at the residential facility.

SIBIS electric skin shock aversive therapy system

Previous posts on the Judge Rotenberg Center may be found here and here.

Top graphic: Hot-Shot Power Mite Livestock Prod, Hot-Shot Products Company, Inc., Savage, MN

Bottom: SIBIS — Self-Injurious Behavior Inhibiting System (U.S. Patent 4494950)

Several JRC-generated papers compare these items to the facility’s own higher-powered GED device.

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One Response to “Shocks from Santa and JRC Footnotes”

  1. Special Education and Uncomfortable Truths « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] a proprietary interest in the apparatus used, one that is capable of delivering electrical charges well over the threshold of pain. JRC claims the technique can successfully treat autism, self-mutilation, […]

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