Help Shouldn't Hurt: Behavior Analysts Against Decelerator Shock Punishment Devices

Help Shouldn't Hurt: Behavior Analysts Against Decelerator Shock Punishment Devices

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Mari Cerda started this petition to Applied Behavior Analysts

Practitioners in field of applied behavior analysis have been working diligently to reform practices from a foundation of consent, support of authentic self, autonomy, and skill-building. Individuals in the field are working hard to listen and support Autistic voices through collaboration and reciprocity. 

However, larger organizations with greater reach and platforms than each of us individually, continue to support research and centers that violate the core values of individual practitioners. 

The use of behavior decelerator punishment shock devices to address detrimental behaviors has been proven in research to have devastating effects. Any decreasing changes in detrimental behaviors are not worth the pain inflicted upon these often non-consenting individuals. 

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts is a "treatment center" that continues to conduct research on the now FDA banned use of electric shock devices on disabled people, primarily Autistics with and without intellectual disabilities, in an effort to control detrimental behaviors. 

The United Nations of Special Rapporteur on Torture also determined that the use of these devices is not considered treatment, but torture. 

In 2012 the public was made aware of this center's treatment of individuals when video of Andre McCollins being shocked repeatedly was released. The teenager endured 7 hours of restraint, being shocked over 31 times and this torture was deemed necessary because Andre refused to take off his coat. The teen suffered burn wounds and was comatose from the experience. 

In 2016 the FDA drafted regulations to ban contingent shock. Despite the FDA banning further use of these devices and providing JRC with a phase out timeline, the center continues to conduct research on these painful torture tools under the guise of treatment. 

Today in 2021, The Association for Behavior Analysis International Organization continues to invite JRC to present symposium sessions at their conference attended by thousands across the country and worldwide.

The sessions are titled:

Positive Punishment: Efficacy, Efficiency, and Side Effects of Electrical Stimulation Devices

Challenging the FDA Ban on Electrical Stimulation Devices.

This petition is a firm request by behavior analysis professionals (BCBAs, BCaBAs, RBTs, and others) that ABAI remove these sessions and the JRC from their conference permanently. We also ask that the ABAI acknowledge the long standing history of abuse and student deaths at the hands of JRC and denounce these types of studies and treatments as they violate the BACB ethical codes and risk dismantling the efforts of behavior analysts to rectify ABA's dark past and work to prevent further trauma to Autistics. 

The behavior analytic community stands with Autistics against the use of decelerator shock punishment devices, also called Electrical Stimulation Devices and calls for all relationship between JRC and ABAI to cease. 

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