05 May 2012

Do you remember the Autistic boy inside the bag?

If you do, you'll be nauseated by what you're about to hear.

Andre McCollins, a teenager with a disability, was asked to take off his jacket by staff at the Judge Rotenberg Center. When he refused, staff electric shocked him and he tried to hide under a table. They dragged him out and tied him face-down to a restraint board where he was kept for seven hours without a break, and shocked a total of thirty-one times. All but one of those electric shocks were for tensing up or screaming. He was hospitalized with acute post-traumatic stress, and his mother couldn't even use a cell phone or TV remote around him, because they look exactly like the shock devices staff use.

Another victim of the JRC was a girl with cerebral palsy who was also nearly blind. She was electric shocked for reaching for a staff member's hand.

The Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts is a residential facility for children and adults with disabilities, including developmental, intellectual, and mental disabilities. They claim to "save lives" with the electric shocks, but it doesn't take an expert to realize that what the JRC really does is torture in the name of treatment. Not one other institution or program in the United States uses electric shock aversives.

I am Autistic, and watching the video of Andre's torture that aired in court last month terrified me, because I know that the people in the JRC are people like me -- people with disabilities -- and it's the fact that they have disabilities that's being used as an excuse for torture and abuse. I know one woman who considered sending her Autistic son to the JRC, and I have an adult Autistic friend who was nearly sent to the JRC. I'm horrified that the JRC is still in operation, especially because I live in the state where the JRC operates, and I want to see the JRC closed.

What happened to Chris Baker in Kentucky is a result of the same attitudes that allow the JRC to continue its operations -- the attitude that people with disabilities like Chris, Andre, and me are inherently broken, diseased, or defective, and that it's therefore permissible to treat us in ways that wouldn't be legal or acceptable to treat anyone without a disability.

Former JRC staff member Gregory Miller, who witnessed their techniques in person, has written a petition demanding the end of the electric shocks at the JRC. If you're like me and reading this sickened you, then take a look at the video of Andre's torture and then sign the petition to demand an end to the torture.

Greg is fighting the same fight that I am -- the fight to ensure RESPECT for all people with disabilities, especially in the name of treatment, therapy, or intervention.

Thank you,

Blessings and peace,


This was originally intended to be an email sent through the Change.org email petition update system, but the system appears to have malfunctioned. So I'm posting this here instead. Please forward this page by email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or wherever to anyone you know.


  1. Can I sign this if I'm in Australia?

    1. Yes you can! Anyone can sign from anywhere in the world.

  2. I would like to re-post your blog post up at my blog, Take a Left at the Moon. Is it all right that I do so? I'm signing the petition and sending it to everyone I know. Thank you so much for posting this.

    Blessings and peace to you as well,

    1. As long as you link back, you can, but it might be most effective to provide the link to the petition and possible also to the video, as those are the point of the post.

      Thanks for signing,

      Blessings and peace,

  3. Thank you please lets close this hell hole down today.
    "Another victim of the JRC was a girl with cerebral palsy who was also nearly blind. She was electric shocked for reaching for a staff member's hand." We need to stand up for those who can not.

  4. Check out www.occupyirc.org for more info about its practices, its history and the upcoming National Day of action.

  5. I've put the link to the petition under a few of my youtube videos. Just a head's up that this might be a good place for others to get the word out too.

  6. I had a really hard time watching this "treatment" and cannot believe they are still in operation. My daughter has Aspergers Syndrome, and if she were ever treated like this I would do everything in my power to close a facility like that down, and bring up charges on those whom administered the so-called treatments.

    I will definitely sign the petition...and I thank you for being a voice for people with disabilities...God Bless you!

  7. Took me a while to find this comment box. That's me. Just to say that I've been reading what you write for a while. That's praise.

    I want to ask for your help with another petition letter to The Autism Advisory Task Force. It's an open letter I've sent out to them yesterday - "An open letter to The Autism Advisory Task Force - Citing concerns about the violation of human rights of autistic children, experimentation on children, task member’s conflicts of interest, and the validity of the current approach."

    You can find it at the http://www.abwfoundation.org/act-now/aatf-open-letter/

    It’s a short letter – too fierce for most, too simplified for others, whistling into the wind for the rest. But perhaps you’ll see it with my heart. I feel the wind is changing.

    I'm trying to send it to as many Autistic people I can find, but finding emails seems to be not a trivial affair; for me.

    Vorya Yarow


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