Electric Shock Studies
Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, 1, 99-105 (1965)
Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Number 1, pp. 110-113 (1965)
The originality of this particular SIBIS case study is that programmed and systematic effort at establishing conditioned punishment was included in the intervention. Results indicate that a zero-level response was rapidly reached, and that the conditioned punisher (i.e. verbal prompt þ movement towards the place where SIBIS was kept) was sufficient to maintain treatment effects. Continuous assessment after treatment and formal observation session at 7 months follow-up revealed that could be removed from the natural environment of the child while maintaining a therapeutic effect.These results were interpreted as the effects of the explicit pairing between the delivery of electric stimulations and previously neutral stimuli, which were initially ineffective to elicit any response, or to suppress SIB. Close and extended monitoring during and after treatment failed to reveal the presence of negative side effects associated with SIBIS, whereas a number of positive effects were observed.
Journal of Clinical Psychology, 28, 586-590, 1972
Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Volume 6, Number 2, pp. 163-173 (1976)
It is apparent from the positions taken by various professional and other organizations that the use of contingent electric shock as a behavior management intervention by use of the SIBIS device or otherwise is highly controversial. (P Ex 35, 36, 51 and 52; D Ex 18; PA Ex 4.) All of the experts who testified in this proceeding acknowledged this fact. But significantly, none of them also, after having preliminarily assessed Terry and his situation, would categorically rule out the possibility of ever utilizing the SIBIS device with [ ] if generally accepted professional standards/guidelines for the use of contingent electric shock and other aversive techniques were met in doing so, most notably all other reasonable, appropriate interventions had been tried and failed. Some of them candidly stated that they had not, and did not believe they would, confront a situation where contingent electric shock would need to be utilized since their approaches to those of others, they believed, would be successful. They further indicated that while they would not professionally be willing to supervise such an intervention, they knew of other respected professionals in their field who could and would.
The study attempted to isolate some of the environmental conditions that controlled the self-destructive behavior of three severely retarded and psychotic children. In the extinction study subjects were placed in a room where they were allowed to hurt themselves, isolated from interpersonal contact. They eventually ceased to hurt themselves in that situation, the rate of self-destruction falling gradually over successive days. In the punishment study, subjects were administered painful electric shock contingent on the self-destructive behavior. (1) The self-destructive behavior was immediately suppressed. (2) The behavior recurred when shock was removed. (3) The suppression was selective, both across physical locales and interpersonal situations, as a function of the presence of shock. (4) Generalized effects on other, non-shock behaviors, appeared in a clinically desirable direction. Finally, a study was reported where self-destructive behavior increased when certain social attentions were given contingent upon that behavior. (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 1969 Fall; 2(3): 143-157)
New York education regulators yesterday debated but did not vote on tight limits on corporal punishment of students, rules that would have significant impact on a Massachusetts school that uses mild electric shocks to discipline students with autism, mental retardation, or emotional problems.
Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 199-204 (1977)
The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders endorses the right of qualified educators and other professionals to employ appropriate behavior reduction procedures when such methods are undertaken with suitable planning and adherence to the guidelines offered above. The organization does not sanction the use of corporal punishment, highly aversive, or non-empirically validated procedures for managing problem behaviors of children and youth with behavioral disorders.
When New York regulators meet today to consider limiting a Massachusetts school's use of electric shocks as punishment, it will not be the first time that states have tried to rein in the unorthodox methods at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center. Massachusetts officials tried to close the school in 1985 after a student with autism died while being forced to listen to loud static through a helmet. They tried again in the mid-1990s when the school began giving mild shocks to students for misbehavior.
Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 289-294 (1976)
Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 303-305 (1977)
For desperate parents, it's the treatment of last resort, and it works. For critics, it's a torment bordering on torture. The Judge Rotenberg Education Center in Canton is the only special needs school in the country that uses skin shocks to condition students, and those critics are working through legal and legislative channels to shut it down. For 35 years, the center has used ''aversive therapy'' to treat young people with the most severe mental illnesses, people who at times will mutilate themselves or injure others. Nearly 75 percent of the center's 234 residents are subject to jolts of electricity to the skin or ''food deprivation'' if they act inappropriately. The school's use of skin shock prompted a legislative effort this year to ban aversive therapy in Massachusetts, and an ongoing investigation by education officials in New York state, which sends a large number of youngsters to the school.
Having had the opportunity to research the various theories of causation and treatment models of SIB, I am left with the conclusion that the causation varies from individual to individual and that the most effective treatment program, in terms of immediacy of effect and minimal negative side effects is the behavioral approach of combining contingent electric shock with DRO reinforcement. The combination of contingent electrical shock with the DRO reinforcement reduces the SIB quickly and allows for acquisition of adaptive skills. While punishment is not met with high social opinion, ethically the severity of injury that may, and in all probability will, occur in its absence must be considered.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1971 4:227-233, Number 3, Fall 1971
The State Board of Regents has recently placed tighter restrictions on the use of so-called "aversive therapy," which also includes "hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking, hurling, strangling, shoving, deep muscle squeezes" and other similar actions. It is appalling that there are any circumstances under which educators can engage in such conduct. Of the many factors that contribute to the endemic problem of abuse and neglect in facilities serving people with mental disabilities, perhaps none is more important than an essential lack of respect for the common humanity we share. The labels we attach to people and their behaviors are often the first step in distancing "them" from "us" and for tolerating for "them" attitudes, conduct, policy, practice and even laws that we would find abhorrent if applied to "us."
Am J Psychother. 1969 Jan;23(1):23-36
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