I am reproducing this press release from COPAA. It is always great to have a reason to celebrate progress even if long overdue. Ban specifically prohibits use due to significant psychological and physical risks. There is much more work that needs to be done on issues related to restraint, time out and universal use of nonaversive behavioral intervention in favor of positive proactive measures, but this announcement is an important step on that path.
WASHINGTON, DC – In support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement to issue a ban on the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) intended to reduce aggressive or self-injurious behaviors that disproportionately are used on people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) issued the following statement:
“I read this news with tears in my eyes and warmth in my heart to know that the end to this barbaric practice is finally in sight” stated Denise Marshall, COPAA executive director. “Too many labeled individuals have repeatedly suffered torture and abuse on the basis of their disability. We know this announcement cannot erase their pain, so in the words of Albert Einstein we must ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.’ Thank you to the FDA for taking this strong stance in protection of the rights of individuals with disabilities to be free from abuse.”
Marshall continued, “COPAA has been at the forefront of this issue since 2008 with the release of our Declaration of Principles calling for every student in this country to be treated with dignity and respect and affirming that no person with a disability should be subjected to abusive treatment under the guise of providing [educational] services. We have repeatedly and unequivocally pushed for a ban because aversive techniques should never be used as planned consequences of their behavior or symptoms of their disability. Congratulations to all of our colleagues and the families whose relentlessness advocacy has made this happen!”