Autism Allies — We Need You, Now

A movement called #StopTheShock is in crucial need of public support.

Meg HartleyAug 10 · 3 min read

Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

Originally posted on An Injustice, I appreciate claps (you can do 50!) and follows over @ Medium! ❤

Being of Autistic neurology in a society made for neurotypical brains is incredibly difficult.

What’s easy for most people is very often incredibly uncomfortable, or even painful for those of us who are Autistic. One personal example of this is getting cold, which physically hurts my body. I’ve always gotten some teasing for my reactions, but ultimately I’ve generally (gratefully) been allowed to do what I need to adjust.

Not all of us have it so lucky.

At the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts, USA, there are shock devices in use called that the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture called torture in 2013.U.N. Report Suggests Some Autism & Addiction Treatments Are Akin to Torture | TIME.comSo-called treatments for drug users and the disabled in some places of the world-including the U.S.- are far from…healthland.time.com

They’d been banned in the US, but last month the ban was overturned.

So, Autistic people, including children, are being literally tortured (again, defined by the UN) for offenses as small as refusing to take off a coat; or even for showing Autistic stims, like hand flapping.

In the United States.

In 2021.

A group widely trusted by the Autistic adult community, The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), put together a petition to put a stop to this abuse—

From the petition (TW: physical abuse, ableism):

“Andre was a teenage resident of JRC. In 2002, he one day refused to take his coat off. The staff responded by placing Andre in restraints for 7 hours and shocking him 31 times. After this torture, Andre was in shock, comatose, and suffered burn wounds on his arms and legs.”

The petition has been up for weeks, but it still hasn’t reached a level where an influential amount of people actually know about it.

And perhaps more upsetting, when you look through #StopTheShock, it’s almost entirely us Autistic people doing the advocacy work.

The Autistic community is desperate for a paradigm shift in how we are viewed at large — as people in need of “fixing,” and/or made to be more “normal” — but surely everyone agrees that we shouldn’t be tortured for not being able to do the same things as neurotypicals, yes?

I don’t know what caregivers should do in regard to extremely problematic behaviors related to Autism, it’s horrible to hear the things that some families have gone through.

But I do know that my own problematic issues were/are rooted in being forced to do things that cause me intense discomfort or even physical pain, that these needs are almost never taken seriously, and that it has been truly dangerous for me in many cases. I also know that this sentiment is echoed throughout the Autistic community.

Sign the PetitionThe Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts is a “treatment center” that uses their own, non-FDA approved…www.change.org

And I know this is something we need to figure out together, the world can’t go on just pretending like Autistic adults don’t exist.

Please hear us.

Like, really hear us: watch well-informed #StopTheShock videos made by people who are actually Autistic, watch the video testimonials of survivors, please listen to us *at least* in addition to the so-called experts who claim to speak for us whilst ignoring Autistic adults completely.

It’s scary that there’s been almost no neurotypical outcry over this.

This essay would include more helpful links (one more) but I had a mental breakdown that eventually involved seizures after I tried to really advocate for it last month, so I cannot focus on this issue for very long.

Many of us become incapacitated when emotionally triggered, as stressful emotions are largely processed via the nervous system and nervous system issues are a prime source of Autistic meltdowns.

We literally cannot change these things on our own.

We. Need. You.

Please sign, and please (please, please) share this petition.

Sign the PetitionThe Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts is a “treatment center” that uses their own, non-FDA approved…www.change.org

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