The founder of a controversial school that treats severely autistic and emotionally disturbed children by shocking them into submission with the use of electrodes has been forced to quit the institution and serve five years’ probation.
Matthew Israel, a Harvard-trained psychologist, has created a treatment that is unique to the US and possibly the world. The Judge Rotenberg Center, just outside Boston, disciplines its students using a punishment machine that Israel invented called the GED, which gives a two-second electric shock to the skin of up to 90 milliamps.
At the centre, which was profiled by the Guardian earlier this year, students wear backpacks around the clock with the GED electric generators inside them, and are zapped using remote control devices controlled by their carers. In some cases, they are shocked as often as 30 times a day as a means of dissuading them from behaviour deemed dangerous to themselves or others.