[Not single-page] A young man with developmental problems develops post-traumatic-stress disorder after receiving 31 shocks at the Judge Rotenberg Center, shedding light on the school’s controversial behavior-modification program:
At first there were no electric shocks. Israel and his workers relied instead on other ‘aversive treatments’: pinching the soles of their feet, squirting them in the face with water, forcing them to sniff ammonia. One student’s punishment for biting: ten spanks on the buttocks, a cool shower, ten ‘rolling pinches’ on the arm, and a time-out wearing a ‘white-noise helmet.’ New York State sent its first student to Israel in 1976.
A few years later, New York State officials did an inspection. ‘Superficially … the program is very impressive,’ they wrote in a subsequent report. ‘Children, who are obviously handicapped, are engaged in activities and are seldom exhibiting inappropriate behaviors.’ But, they concluded, ‘the children are controlled by the threat of punishment. When that threat is removed, they revert to their original behaviors.’ Ultimately, the officials found the program’s effect on its students to be ‘the singular most depressing experience that team members have had in numerous visitations to human-service programs.’