This statement was given by a former patient at the Judge Rotenberg Center. It was published on the Autistic Hoya webpage. All rights belong to the former patient, who wishes to remain unnamed.
The most sickening, horrifying experience of my life was being shocked on the restraint board. What is the board? It is a large, door sized contraption made out of hard plastic, with locking restraint cuffs on each corner where your wrists and ankles get locked in. Your body becomes stretched spread eagle style, pinned tight, rendering you completely helpless, combined with an overwhelming feeling of vulnerability. It is a torture that you would expect to see in a horror movie. The kind that makes you cringe and scream while you watch. The kind you cant get out of your head even a after it’s over. Only this was happening for real, to me.
They added the restraint board, which for me was 5 shocks over 10 minutes to my program after a few months, which means getting shocked 5 different times, over a period of 10 minutes for having just one single behavior. If you have just one of those behaviors on your sheet, which can be getting out of your seat without permission (even without doing anything violent), tensing your body, anything they decide to put in your program. A behavior is anything you do that JRC considers a problem. Anything from hitting your head, to talking to yourself, saying a swear word, rocking, even screaming from fear and pain of the shocks, is a "behavior". The staff grab you, put you in restraints, walk or drag you to where the board is kept (usually right in the middle of the classroom with all the other students watching and stepping around you), and than restrain you to the board. Arms and legs locked in. Then the terror starts. You have to wait for it. You never know when it's coming. The staff shocking you usually hides behind a door or desk so you can not see them. JRC lavishes in the element of surprise when shocking us. Then all of a sudden the searing pain and jolt in your arm or leg or stomach, or sometimes even the fingertips or thigh or even bottom of your feet. Whichever part of the body gets shocked, it will travel throughout. If you get shocked in your arm, for example, it is not a "hard pinch" it is a radiating electricity that will travel from your bicep through to your fingertips. Your whole arm jerks against the restraints, causing added pain from your muscles being forced to contract against being tied up. The loud screech of the device goes off with it, and they say, "(name) there is no tensing up". One down, 4 to go. Your heart races immediately, and you sweat profusely. All you want to do is throw up. That ten minutes feels like hours. You try to prepare yourself for the next shock. I keep saying in my head, 4 more, 4 more. Please just finish please. Trying not to scream in fear because i will be shocked for that as well. It comes again without warning, next time maybe in your stomach, the stabbing pain runs from left to right, right to left, across your belly button area. Your stomach heaves in and you lose your breath. More sweat now. Your heart beats faster now than you can feel possible. I start to hope my heart stops. Anything to let me away from this. 3 more. But now it's even harder, I don't feel I can take any more of this torture. Besides the pain, it's the panic and fear in your mind. There were times when I peed on myself. One particular time I was put on the board for hitting my head the night before. They said because the staff did not "follow my program". They put me on the board. They shocked me repeatedly in the stomach. And when they finally got to 5, I thought "it's over". But then they didn't take me off the board. They gave me a 6th, than 7th, than 8th. They kept going. I was so filled with fear, not knowing what was happening or when they would ever stop. I went away in my head. I started floating. I had no more tears left. When they finally stopped after 10, they sent other staff in to "change my batteries". When they lifted the electrodes off of my stomach, it was stuck. They had to pull because it had burned into my skin. I still have those scars on my stomach. When they took the devices off of me to test them, I was still strapped to the board. Every time I heard the noise from the test, I cried and panicked. The staff attempted to comfort me, she whispered to me so they wouldn't hear her, because any kind of comforting is never allowed. I was shocked on the board on many separate occasions. One time for something I never even did.
I lived this. These things happened. These things were done to me and I witnessed them done to many others.