Goodbye Dr. Israel

Goodbye Dr. Israel

It seems inconceivable that in an age that has begun to recognize not only the rights of individuals with disabilities (I like to call them differences) and in an age where we think the general public is finally understanding that these people are PEOPLE with the same feelings, hopes and fears as those of us who are more "typical", we can still have a "school" operating in the U.S. that allows punishment to be used against severely challenged individuals that is also used to control cattle.  Amid charges of cruelty and unethical treatment of challenged individuals living at the Judge Rotenberg Center, the center’s director, Dr. Israel, has resigned (or I believe he has called it a retirement).  While I’m pleased with this action, I worry about who will replace Dr. Israel, and whether or not he or she will continue using negative reinforcers of behaviors.  It is my understanding that the GED backpacks the residents of the center are forced to strap on each day, deliver shocks upon staff command that are equal to the voltage of a cattle prod.  What I find even more upsetting is that when charges were filed against Dr. Israel in previous incidents involving painful punishments, many parents of residents at the center defended him.  I know this isn’t because they don’t love their offspring.  I think it is because they’ve experienced the living nightmare of being repeatedly rejected from other facilities that don’t use pain as a punishment.  UNTIL WE DEMAND THAT POSITIVE AND COMPETENT FACILITIES BE MADE AVAILABLE THAT WILL TAKE ASD INDIVIDUALS WHO EXHIBIT AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS, we will surely see repeats of this scenario.
There ARE positive ways and medical approaches to helping individuals with aggressive behaviors control that behavior.  I implore our experts and large national advocacy groups in the field of autism spectrum disorders to help us in making more quality options for the average parent.
 
Posted by Susan Moreno on 6/20/2011 2:58:13 PM


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