Skin Shocks Under Review

Often at The Associated Press, a team of people work on a single story or video. Usually, many editors, reporters, photographers, videographers, announcers and producers help bring a story together.

Take this story, for instance.

Self-injury is one of the most difficult behaviors associated with autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities, and a private facility outside Boston that takes on some of the hardest-to-treat cases is embroiled in a major debate: Should it use electrical skin shocks to try to keep patients from harming themselves or others?

I didn’t work on the print story, but I did help with the video. I interviewed a very talented woman who had received these electrical skin shocks at the Massachusetts school. Jennifer Msumba is autistic and now lives in Florida. Her story – how she was tied down for the procedure, how the shocks left burn marks, how the shocks were used as punishment and made her feel like dying – was difficult to hear.