Food and Drug Administration Conducts Public Hearing on the Risks of Aversive Electric Shock to Modify Behaviors

A majority of members of an advisory panel to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated that the risks of using aversive electric shock to modify behaviors outweighed the benefits of such procedures. The Neurological Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee to the FDA conducted a public hearing at which The Arc and 12 other disability advocacy organizations testified against use of aversive procedures, such as electric shock, on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The majority of the panel concluded that electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) intended to administer a noxious electrical stimulus for the treatment of self-injurious behavior (SIB) and aggressive behavior presented a substantial and unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

The only facility that uses electric shock devices currently is the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. The Center manufactures and uses the Graduated Electronic Decelerator, or GED. Versions of the device being used at JRC are unapproved modifications of a 1994 FDA-approved GED. Staff from JRC as well as parents of individuals at the Center offered testimony during the hearing defending use of the GED. JRC has been investigated by authorities in New York and Massachusetts and by the United Nations. The Department of Justice has an on-going investigation of the Center.

The Arc’s Marty Ford testifies at hearing on securing the future of SSDI

The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security held the fifth hearing in a series on securing the future of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The hearing looked at options to address the key structural and fiscal challenges facing the program. The Arc’s Marty Ford testified on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force. Her testimony emphasized the vital importance of SSDI for people with significant disabilities and recommended a variety of ways to strengthen SSDI to enhance opportunities and outcomes, and to secure its financial future. Visit the Committee web site for written testimony and video from the hearing.