CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains the limitations of the CDC's phone survey that found 1 in 50 children has autism, and talks about why a report released by the same government agency last year put that number much lower at 1 in 88.
"I think in part it depends how you count these cases," says Sanjay. "I don't think there's been that significant an increase, but this is more reflective of increased awareness, an increased diagnosis."
A report from a human rights organization goes into graphic detail with horrifying claims about what’s happening at a school for students with severe behavioral and developmental issues. They call it torture. Anderson spoke with Michael Flammia, an attorney for the Judge Rotenberg Center and Dr. Louis Kraus, a board member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Mass. state Sen. Brian Joyce fights to close a school that uses electric shocks to control kids at a special-needs school.
Anderson Cooper and Tom Foreman discuss what the FDA report will say about an electronic shock device used on students in a special needs school.
A Massachusetts school for special needs students uses a controversial method for trying to control the children's behavior. They administer electric shocks. The number of shocks and the reason for using the device is at the discretion of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) staff.
JRC has students as young as 3-years-old. Their website says they've provided "very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems and developmentally delayed students with autistic-like behaviors."
One graphic video, that school officials didn't want the public to see, shows Cheryl McCollins' autistic son Andre receiving 31 electric shocks in a seven hour timeframe. McCollins was distraught about the treatment and wants JRC shut down.
Anderson Cooper talks with Massachusetts state Senator Brian Joyce and autism expert Dr. Louis Krauss of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry about a school for special needs kids that uses electric shocks to try to control their behavior.
The Director of Research for a school that administers shocks to change children's behavior defends the method. The Director of Yale’s Child Neuroscience Laboratory, and a father of autistic children, disagrees with the treatment; he says punishment doesn't treat the underlying cause.
Can zapping emotionally challenged children with painful electrical shocks - like cattle - actually help them? The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts claims it does. But as Anderson Cooper reported last week, there’s a new push to close the school.
The renewed effort to shutdown JRC comes after a graphic video surfaced that school officials didn't want the public to see. The video shows Cheryl McCollins' son, Andre, receiving 31 electric shocks from school staff in a seven hour period. His family’s attorney says he was later treated for post traumatic stress disorder.
However, another mother, Marie Washington, said JRC saved her son's life by using the shocks to treat him, instead of medications. Washington calls the program a "godsend."
JRC is a special needs school for children as young as 3-years-old. Their website says they've provided "very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems and developmentally delayed students with autistic-like behaviors."
Critics disapprove of the method used by the school to change students' behavior. JRC calls the shocks "aversive therapy," opponents call it torture. They invented the device used to administer the shocks, and they're the only school using the technique.
Tonight, Anderson explores the medical research behind the shock therapy. He'll speak with one of the top autism researchers in the country, Kevin Pelphrey, who’s the Director of Yale’s Child Neuroscience Laboratory, and Nathan Blenkush, Director of Research at JRC, who has worked at the school since 2006. Tune in to AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
A disturbing video shows an autistic teenager strapped down and repeatedly zapped with electrical shocks at his school. Anderson Cooper spoke with the student's mother about why she's outraged and wants the school to close. He also talked with a lawyer for the school, a former teacher's assistant, and another mother who says the controversial treatment saved her son's life
For Mary Calhoun Brown, the term "Asperger's" is crucial to conveying to schools that although her 15-year-old son has had social difficulties, he has a near-genius IQ and great speaking ability.
"If I call it 'autism,' that's going to raise a lot of red flags for people who don't know him," said Brown, author of the novel about autism "There Are No Words."
Both Brown and her son William are opposed to new guidelines being put forth by the American Psychiatric Association that would make Asperger's syndrome part of the autism spectrum disorders rather than a separate diagnosis. In the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which helps mental health professionals identify specific conditions, it is not listed under autism.