December 18, 2018 | Bowling Green Daily News online
Embrace people with autism, don’t torture them
Electric shock to apply notable pain on mice and other animals for experimental behavioral response was legally used to apply to persons with autism and other disabilities until now.
In states like Massachusetts and others, the federal government allowed the use of cattle prods, electric shock and more complex devices of torture to temporarily modify aberrant behavior causing severe pain to people with disabilities. This medieval approach for persons with disabilities sanctioned by previous administrations is outrageous and has gone on far too long.
Many individual states had the wisdom to outlaw the use of aversive electric shock on persons with autism and intellectual disabilities. Other states did not. The federal government remained silent on this subject, until now.
After decades of letter writing, testimonies and a variety of other methodologies to educate public officials, finally FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in his newsletter stated that “we’re also planning to issue a final ban on electrical stimulation devices used for self-injurious and aggressive behaviors.
“We believe these products present an unreasonable and substantial risk to public health that cannot be corrected or eliminated through changes to the labeling. The FDA takes the act of banning a device only on rare occasions when it is necessary to protect public health.”
We support thousands of individuals with significant disabilities nationwide in small group homes and their own homes, as well as in community jobs and programs. We use positive approaches regardless of any behavior.
It has worked since I founded this organization 30 years ago and hopefully with the help and wisdom of the federal government it will become policy for every organization to follow.
– Stack is president and CEO of Community Options, a nonprofit supporting people with disabilities nationwide.