Last week, SEIU Local 509 provided testimony to the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities opposing the use of aversives behavioral interventions or “skin shock . There has been much public controversy over the Judge Rotenberg Centers use of electric shock as a form of punishment to some autistic, retarded, and emotionally troubled students. The 509 membership attested to having extensive experience successfully working with individuals with severe behavioral disabilities through positive behavioral interventions without the need to resort to inhumane measures. SEIU 509 strongly opposed this punishment and joined in spirit with the United Nations, the Department of Justice, and the Attorney General, just to name a few, who have taken a strong position against the JRC’s use of skin shock. The Local 509 stands strong in hope that soon the state will fully utilize positive behavioral supports and fully prohibit the use of skin shock.
You can download the letter from SEIU Local 509 President Susan Tousignant here.
In addition to this new rule, Representative Tom Sannicandro has introduced legislation banning the use of aversives and shock therapy in MA.
Below are links letters from other organization SEIU Local 509 joins in support of the new rule eliminating the use of aversives.
Today marks an important step in the political process that could give people with disabilities more control over their lives and and allow the workforce providing these services to join together in a union to improve their jobs and the program. AB 1244 (Chesbro) is up for a vote in the Senate Committee on Human Services today. We need to make sure the committee stands with people with disabilities and workers who want self-determination and votes yes on the bill.
Under the Self-Determination program:
The Senate Committee on Human Services is holding a vote on the bill today. We need to make sure the committee does the right thing for people with disabilities and votes yes on this important bill.
Since the mid 1990s, states have been experimenting with Self-Determination, Self-Directed Services, and other forms of consumer direction for people with developmental disabilities. In these options, the person with a disability gains control over their service budget, and they make decisions (with supporters that they choose) over what services they purchase to meet their needs. It’s been tough getting there in California. Twelve years ago the state started a self-determination pilot project, and today it still has only 140 participants statewide, out of over 100,000 adults with I/DD.
SEIU has been a leading voice in California to make self-direction available to all people with I/DD in California. In 2005 we partnered with Disability Rights California to pass legislation to expand self-direction statewide. After that got stuck in bureaucracy, California started looking at a scaled-back version called Individual Choice Budget (ICB). SEIU is continuing to advocate for an expanded program with maximum flexibility for families and people with disabilities to control their services and their lives.
SEIU members believe consumer control is in the best interest of both the individuals and the workers who provide supports. We will continue to stand up to those who oppose change because they benefit from the status quo, such as the providers of the current service mix who have always found reasons to oppose consumer control. We will continue to push for services that allow people to make their own decisions about how to live their lives.