On March 22, I called on Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America to stand up against the abuse, restraint and torture occurring at the Judge Rotenberg Center. Today, I received an official statement from Autism Speaks through Marc Sirkin, Autism Speaks Vice President, Social Marketing&Online Fundraising:

"We oppose the use of electric shock in behavior modification treatments. The video of the student receiving this type of treatment at the Judge Rotenberg Center is appalling and Autism Speaks joins many other organizations in calling for an end to this abuse." 

In light of the ongoing trial against the JRC and the release of the horrific video showing a young man being shocked 31 times, Autism Speaks' statement and call for the end of this abuse is an important step in bringing national attention to the issues of how the institutionalized disabled are treated. I hope that the organizational will use its clout to speak out loudly against the JRC and involve its Autism Votes division to supporting legislation that will once and for all close the JRC down.

Given that JRC's own psychologist could find a way to support the restraint and abuse the young man endured, it is not a given that people who are charged with caring for the disabled are indeed men and women of good conscience. All because the young man failed to take off his jacket, the shocks, the restraint and the abuse occurred, with the psychologist insisting it was essentially necessary restraint.

Our society should be judged based on how we treat those amongst us who are most in need of protection and support. We have a long way to go towards making sure that our disabled are treated equally and given protecting from abuse, restraint and torture, but each step we make towards denouncing the kind of abuse, restraint, and torture that occurs in far too many institutional settings, both educational and medical, is a step towards a society we can be proud of.