Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two Things...

(1) Dr. Beck has written a great post about one of my FAVORITE websites: Postsecret! He talks about the impact of the site, as well as how he things it has been able to reach out to people in ways that the church hasn't been able to at this point in time. I loved the post and couldn't help but comment with my thoughts on the matter (including my take on the church part...HA!) You can read the post here.

(2) Did anyone else happen to see the special Primetime series tonight on ABC called "The Outsiders"? Yes, it WAS on during the last hour of American Idol (which if you know me, you know how EXTREMELY difficult it was for me to given into my interest to see the Primetime show over my excitement of it FINALLY being the first night of the singing competition of American Idol (especially with it being the boy night...HA!) So yes, I gave in and watched more of the Primetime show than I did American Idol, and boy am I glad I did...it was easily some of the most interesting television I've watched in the a LONG time. [I caught Idol during Primetime commercial breaks...HA!]

I don't have the time to discuss the show in full right now; however, I will say this, it was called "The Outsiders" because the show covered three segments each covering storylines related to people being involved in "taboo" situations. I actually didn't care to much for the last segment, so flipped back to Idol. The last segment was on apparently some Zodiac killer. I'm not sure...apparently some new movie coming out based on the true story or something, but the first two segments of the show HIGHLY interesting (to me at least, and I openly admit that strange and sick things sometimes interest me...HA!)

The first segment basically revolved around incestual love. There were two stories, one being about a couple who have been intimate together for 7 years now and they are half-brother and sister. An article on this story is available here. Then the other storyline was about a lady who had had a son at the age of 15, but back in the 50s or 60s (whenever it was) that was very "wrong" so she was forced to give him up for adoption. When she was 42 years old they reunited for the first time and she admitted to falling into a romantic love toward him (though his love was not such for her). The story went on...

Then the second segment was about a school up in Mass. that is for "disturbed" children--children that were deemed as being self-harmful or harmful toward others. Many of the students they reported on lived with conditions such as mental retardation or autism [MANY were severally autistic]. Anyways, this school, which is funded off tax dollars provides a schooling setting for these children where their behaviors are conditioned (or treated) through skin-surface shocking. The students are hooked up to the machines called "G.E.D."s (don't recall what that stands for) for the day (some students hooked up 24-hours a day), and whenever the student is becoming aggressive or harmful toward one's self or others, a 2-second shock is giving to the kid.

Okay, I can truly see y'alls mouths dropping and your first statement out of your mouth--"This can't be legal is it?!?!" Well, it's okay, you're reacting as I did; initially...

I must say, it is jaw-dropping to hear, but you've got to take more than just that into consideration...

Now, before I continue, I want to say, I'm still in the process of weighing the pros and cons on this one myself. I'm not sure if I'm "for" or "against" this yet, but before you jump to either too, allow me to share a little more with you...

First, to get into this school parents must sign some paperwork to admit their child, but also, a court must approve it. So basically it is that the courts I suppose are saying this might be one of this child's last hopes for an educational experience in a classroom.

Second, the man that started this school and is in charge of it, Dr. Israel I believe his name was (I think he was either a psychologist or a psychiatrist) states that there is "no physical harm to the students from the shocks." This Doctor apparently spent time studying under B.F. Skinner while at Harvard and it was Skinner's behavioral therapy that has highly influenced him.

Now, allow me to share some of the stories they shared. They would show home video clips of some of these students before they would enter the schooling. These before clips would show how some the student was highly self-harmful. Some of these students would be biting their arms bloody. Some would hit their head with closed-fists over and over. Others would beat their heads against the wall repeatedly. As terrible as these acts might seem, none are viewed "surprising" to come from a mentally ill child, especially when you consider the severity of illness with some of these children.

Then there were other students. One student had thrown a teacher's aid in his past school across the room and seriously injured her.

It's important to understand that these students are not "bad" kids, "bad" in the sense that they need to be locked-up, but rather they are dealing with a mental illness that is affecting their functioning. Though that is out of their control, they still can become aggressive and that can be harmful to themselves and/or others. Understand that some of these are boys that are growing up and getting to be rather big and strong kids, meaning their parents (and other authority figures) might not be able to physically control them when they become aggressive. Something has to be done.

So is shocking them the thing to do? I don't know. But at the same time, I think it is important to consider everything when looking at this.

They talked to one of the former students, who had graduated from there. He suffers from autism. He praises the schooling. He no longer wears the shockers and stated that he is a success story. He now works in the school's cafeteria and is able to live away from his parents in a group home setting.

Okay, so I was originally just going to give an overview of the Primetime show, but as you can tell, it was just so intriguing to me! Fasicinating stuff to think about.

What do I think on the matters? Not sure yet. Still battling that all out in my head, but at the same time, I can't' help but think how maybe the "taboo" isn't as "terrible" as originally thought.

I obviously didn't share EVERYTHING from the show here. And I can give more if questions arise. Maybe I left out an important part. Let me know your thoughts.

UPDATE: Here is a video clip on the shock therapy segment of the show. Then this is also an article talking about it.

1 comment:

ewall said...

Kim, congratulations on passing your LMSW exam, and on graduation, those are some big time accomplishments...you are going to be able to do a lot of things and I believe you will do them well!

Thanks again for the well wishes, look forward to hearing where you are headed next and what you'll be up to!