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AAIDD Applauds the FDA for Banning the Use of Electrical Devices to Address Self-Injurious or Aggressive Behavior

March 4, 2020 (Silver Spring, Maryland):

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) applauds the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its announcement today of a final rule that prohibits the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) for self-injurious or aggressive behavior because they present an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury. The ban will be effective April 6, 2020.

ESDs deliver a strong electrical shock, and until this ban, were legal to use on people with intellectual disability.  AAIDD’s perspective on the use of such devices is outlined in its position statements against the use of electric shock and aversive procedures, and in favor of positive behavioral supports.

The publication of this final rule follows a 2016 proposed rule to ban ESDs from the marketplace, for which AAIDD provided comments, and a 2014 hearing on the matter, in which AAIDD provided testimony (see transcript pages 153-156).

AAIDD commends the FDA for taking the rare step of banning a device in order to eliminate the physical injury and psychological harm that result from their use.

See the FDA press release here:



Founded in 1876, AAIDD is the oldest professional association concerned with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Learn more about the organization at

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