The state Board of Regents on Monday adopted regulations that ban New York students from receiving skin shocks and other “aversive therapies” after June 30, 2009. The vote ends almost a year of deliberation over whether the treatments are appropriate for students with severe emotional problems.
The new rules, like a temporary set imposed last summer, seem to make neither side of the debate happy. Advocates for skin shocks (including some parents of autistic and depressed children), who contend it is the only way to prevent self-destructive behavior and preserve life in extreme cases, believe the ban is the result of political correctness, not sound medicine. Opponents of aversive methods wonder why the state is waiting until 2009 to ban procedures it thinks are wrong.
The rules apply to all students whose schooling is funded by New York State, but it’s aimed specifically at the 150 or so New Yorkers being treated at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Mass.