Some family members of the students have defended the practice – saying it works to change student behavior when nothing else can – and denounced the FDA ruling.
“I just felt like I got punched in the stomach when they did that,” said Louisa Goldberg, 66, whose son Andrew Goldberg, 39, lives at the center. “I’m so sad.”
She said her son suffered from brain damage and epilepsy, and that he exhibited severe aggression as a teenager. There were violent episodes, trips to the hospital, and mind-altering drugs that left him lazy. His mother said he was subjected to physical restraint for hours.
“Her life was torture,” she said.
Mr. Goldberg moved to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center at the age of 19 and began to wear an electric shock device. Ms Goldberg said her son would receive two-second shocks as part of a larger treatment plan. He has since been weaned from the device and can do things he couldn’t do before, like going to the movies.
“This treatment is working, and I will keep it, and I will fight for it,” Ms. Goldberg said.
In a statement released Thursday, the school said the FDA had “made a decision based on policy, not facts, to deny this court-approved life-saving treatment.”
“The JRC has provided countless hours of testimonials, volumes of information, and made clinicians, other staff and family members of our clients, or clients themselves, available to the community. FDA over the past few years, ”he said. “In fact, after multiple requests that the federal agency visit the only facility affected by this rule, the FDA got its head in the sand and refused to visit.”
The school administers electric shocks with a device called a graduated electronic decelerator. A spokeswoman for the school said on Thursday it had 282 clients, 55 of whom – all adults – had been allowed by a court to wear the graduated electronic decelerator after all other treatments had failed.