On July 6, 2021, in the United States, there was a court decision to overturn an FDA ban on the use of graduated electronic decelerator (GED), or shock device, on disabled people at the Judge Rotenberg Center, an institution in Massachusetts.
The Centre for Autism Services Alberta strongly opposes the use of graduated electronic decelerator (GED) devices or any other electric skin shock devices on people with developmental disabilities, including autistic people. This practice contravenes Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Freedom from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment).
WHAT IS GED?
Graduated electronic decelerator or GED, is an aversive conditioning device that is being used on students with developmental disabilities, emotional disorders and on the autism spectrum at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts, United States. The device inflicts a powerful electric shock to the skin to punish behaviours that the administrator deems undesirable in order to modify behaviours through pain compliance. There are three versions of the GED, with the least powerful producing a shock of 30mA for 2 seconds and the most powerful inflicting a shock of 90 mA for 2 seconds. Due to an error by the FDA and noncompliance by JRC, all three versions of the GED were used for over a decade. Note for reference that tasers produce 2 mA of current.
CRISIS AND SUPPORT SERVICES
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, you are deserving of help and can call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service 24/7/365 at 1-833-456-4566.
You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 686868 in Canada to text with a trained Crisis Responder.
If you require immediate, in-person emergency care, call 911, or go to your nearest emergency department.
ABC News. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/shock-therapy-massachussetts-school/story?id=11047334.
“Facts about Stun Guns and Their Use in Canada | CBC News.” CBCnews. April 21, 2011. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/facts-about-stun-guns-and-their-use-in-canada-1.810288.
Mother Jones. “Matthew Israel Interviewed by Jennifer Gonnerman.” Mother Jones. August 20, 2007. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/08/matthew-israel-interviewed-jennifer-gonnerman/.
Pierson, Brendan. “D.C. Circuit Overturns FDA Ban on Shock Device for Disabled Students.”
Reuters. July 06, 2021. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/dc-circuit-overturns-fda-ban-shock-device-disabled-students-2021-07-06/.
“US Bans Shock ‘treatment’ on Children with Special Needs at Boston-area School.” The Guardian. March 05, 2020. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/05/us-bans-electric-shock-treatment-children-boston-area.
*Resources obtained from CASDA