Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Autistic Slave Labor

Originally posted November 2005

Michelle Dawson is not the only person who is hopping mad about this outrageous violation of human rights. In a recent press release, the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), which has been soliciting funds from unsuspecting parents for a "cure" and using the money to fund prenatal testing eugenics research, disclosed that it is using the labor of institutionalized autistic adults, including those at the infamous Eden Institute in New Jersey, to stuff its solicitation envelopes. (Follow the "hopping mad" link to find the URL of the press release – I'm not giving those bastards a link.)

Eden is an aptly named organization; it's a paradise for sadists who enjoy torturing the most vulnerable people in our society. It is on the watch lists of human rights groups such as the
Autism National Committee, the Family Alliance to Stop Abuse and Neglect, and TASH, who are lobbying for a ban on the use of aversives, that is, behavioral modification methods that involve the deliberate infliction of physical pain or discomfort. This New Jersey advocacy site gives a graphic illustration, taken from an actual behavioral plan, of how aversives are used on helpless residents of institutions such as Eden:

"When Roy becomes person or object aggressive he is to be placed in arm restraints and seated. Staff are to ask, "Roy, your behavior is irresponsible. Are you ready to accept responsibility for your behavior?" If Roy responds "yes," he is to be forced to inhale ammonia for three seconds, sprayed with water for thirty seconds, and again forced to inhale ammonia for three seconds. Roy is then to thank staff for their help. If Roy responds negatively and does not accept responsibility for his behavior, staff are to repeat the ammonia, water spray, ammonia sequence. If, asked again to accept responsibility for his behavior, he again refuses, the aversive sequence is to be repeated twice in succession."

As Michelle Dawson points out, autistics who are held captive in such hellholes, in addition to being forced to comply with all activities that are included in their behavioral plan (such as stuffing NAAR's envelopes for long hours without pay) must also display a suitable amount of enthusiasm, as determined by the behaviorists, while doing so. The closest historical parallel is the experience of African-American slaves on plantations in the Old South, who were often made to sing, by an overseer standing nearby with a cat-o'-nine-tails, while they picked cotton.

The only significant difference is that the cotton picked by the black slaves, unlike NAAR's research, wasn't intended to be used as a means of committing a worldwide genocide against the slaves' own people.

For those readers who think it's too farfetched to speculate that autistics might someday be kept in labor camps and forced to work toward the extermination of their own kind, like the Jewish prisoners of the Nazis – it's now a fact that some of us already are.



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