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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Why Can't the State of Massachusetts Shut Matthew Israel Down?

See this article in Mother Jones:
"The harsh reality is we're doing this to innocent children in Canton, Massachusetts," [says Senator Brian A. Joyce]. "If this treatment were used on terrorist prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, there would be worldwide outrage."

Mr. Israel continues to defend his use of aversives and electric shock in my blog today under "The Legacy of B.F. Skinner and Behaviour Modification." You can comment there or here.


Blogger Phil Schwarz said...

There have been attempts both in the Massachusetts legislature and in the executive branch (state dept. of Mental Retardation services) to shut JRC down.

I briefly described what happened to the most recent legislative attempt, and the largest-scale executive-branch attempt, here:

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Molly B. said...

I don't know the details of this case, and just reading references to it is triggering a lot of painful stuff.

A lot of aversive stimulation techniques "worked" on me. If "working" means making me behave in a way that reduces others' discomfort. And gives them the feeling of connection with me. "Professionals" might argue my problems come from non-scientific application of techniques by religious-fundamentalist parents, but I doubt "professionals" are less malevolent or more effective than what I experienced. So what if these techniques "work"? Who exactly are they working _for_? So many other people see me as "normal" most of the time. Hurrah for them. But most of my life is in terror. What a success.

8:27 AM  
Blogger DJ said...

I am still traumatized by the experiencied I underwent receiving ABA/IBI as a child (I'm a 32 year old "successful" autistic who has lost touch with who I am because of my childhood prograsmming).

The fact of the matter is: behaviour modification using extreme aversives or rewards works on *anyone*. Ask any prisoner who has been tortured, or person who has been brainwashed in a cult. It does work. That's why they keep doing it and that's why research shows that it works. You can train a dog in this manner and you can train people this way too.

The question is "Is it beneficial to the person in the long run? Is it right?"

Absolutely not.

Is this means to an end justified? I think not. Altering behaviour using these tactics is nothing short of brainwashing and torture to force people to behave as someone else wants them them to is unethical, wrong and against the Geneva Convention.

Article 5 of Amnesty International's Universal Declaration of Human Rights States: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment"

I can pretend to be normal - wow. Thanks ABA. Don't we all feel gratified now? My underlying medical problems were ignored and, as such, I almost died because they became a problem in my early 20's.

Things need to change. Attitudes need to change. People need to see what they are doing to their kids...or paying other people like Judge Rotenberg Center $220,000.00 per year per victim - I mean student - to do it to their kids.

It's sick.

10:03 AM  

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