04 April 2013

Updates on the Judge Rotenberg Center and Autistic Hoya in the News

Judge Rotenberg Center Updates

For background on the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), where disabled people are subjected to abuse including painful electric shock as punishment (not the same thing as electroconvulsive therapy), food deprivation, sleep deprivation, and other forms of torture, see my page with JRC resources.

Today, Nancy Weiss announced that "the New York State Department of Education is requiring that JRC stop using the GED 3A and the GED 4 (the two electric shock devices currently in use) on any New York State student within 30 days. While we don’t have specific figures, it is assumed that about half of the people at JRC are New York State residents. This is an important step."

You can read the NYSED letter, dated 12 March 2013, at one of the following links:

  • Click here for the original scanned PDF, which is not text accessible.
  • Click here for my transcribed text-accessible version with standard white background and black font.
  • Click here for my transcribed text-accessible version with high-contrast/visibility, black background and white font.

I also mentioned a few months ago that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also sent a letter in December to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, prohibiting any federal Medicaid money from going toward any person who lives at any facility that uses electric shock interventions, even if the person in question isn't being shocked.

You can read the 14 December 2012 CMS letter (as well as its 11 July 2012 predecessor) at one of the following links:

  • Click here for the original July letter.
  • Click here for the July letter in high-contrast/visibility, black background and white font.
  • Click here for the December letter.
  • Click here for the December letter in high-contrast/visibility, black background and white font.

Autistic Hoya Updates

For World Autism Awareness Acceptance Day, I was featured both in an interview in Poor Magazine with Krip Hop Nation's Leroy Moore about Autistic community, and in an article in Campus Progress on ableism and the media. A few weeks ago, I also published this op-ed piece about the JRC, entitled "When Treatment Becomes Torture: This is What Disabled Oppression Looks Like," for the opinion section of The Fire This Time, Georgetown's multicultural newsmagazine.

On Friday 5 April 2013, I will be presenting a paper co-written by myself and Adam Gluntz entitled "Deconstructing Rhetoric on Disabled (A)Sexuality" for the annual DC Queer Studies conference at the University of Maryland, College Park. This year's theme is Debilitating Queerness, and will explore the intersections of critical disability, gender, and queer studies. (Alyssa of Yes, That Too will also be presenting.) If you're in the DC area, registrations is free and open to everyone!

And on Monday 8 April 2013, I will be speaking at the College of William and Mary's Commonwealth Auditorium at 7pm for I am W&M Week; the title of my talk is "Politicized Disability and the Crisis of Disabled Oppression."

(I do in fact do things off the internet. ;) )


  1. Wait, do you endorse electroconvulsive therapy?


    1. Not necessarily. I made the comment to differentiate between "aversive shock therapy" and "electroconvulsive therapy" (sometimes called electrostatic therapy) as the two are frequently conflated and confused. That said, I do not condone any coercive or forced treatment with ECT on anyone, but I do recognize the right of people who make voluntary, fully-informed decisions to receive ECT to access it. Research has demonstrated some positive effects from ECT, but the side-effects can be potentially veyr harmful.Hence, people do have the right to choose not to receive it or to receive it. No one should ever be forced, coerced, or pressured into any kind of treatment or medical procedure, but informed, and consenting people do have the right to access any treatment they have chosen for tmselves. (Please excuse typos; on phone.)


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