U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel (FDA) – has recommended that the use of “electrical stimulation devices” on people with developmental disorders such as autism to control behaviour should be banned.
Jennifer Rodriguez, an agency spokesperson said prior to the panel’s vote Thursday evening that:
“The FDA has grown concerned that serious risks of using these devices may outweigh the benefits for patients with limited intellectual ability or developmental disabilities, and that they may pose an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to patients,”
The device is currently being used at a clinic in Massachusetts. Philly.com state on their website that the the FDA said that, as far as the agency is aware, the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts is the only facility using the devices in an attempt to change behavior.
Former Rotenberg students told FDA investigators that:
“(It feels) like a thousand bees stinging you in the same place for a few seconds,”
The Rotenberg Center continues to stand by its policy. The statement from the center said:
“Without the treatment program at JRC, these children and adults would be condemned to lives of pain by self-inflicted mutilation, psychotropic drugs, isolation, restraint and institutionalization — or even death,”
The center makes its own devices on-site and does not offer them for sale.
The United Nations has said use of electro-shock devices by the Rotenberg Center constitutes a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.
Margaret Nygren, executive director of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities said its use is degrading.
“It’s like putting a shock collar on a dog,”
The agency added that the models used by the Rotenberg Center lack FDA approval because they have been substantially modified from earlier models and deliver an output almost three times that of the FDA-approved model.
Autism Daily Newscast reported last summer regarding a petition to ban electro shock therapy.
The original article by Dennis Thompson on the philly.com website can be read here