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35097Re: Looking For The BBC / Facilitated Communication

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  • Tmckean@aol.com
    Nov 1, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      In a message dated 10/31/2004 2:22:45 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      oldradioshowsonmp3@yahoogroups.com writes:
      Hi Anita -

      My nephew Is autistic. As an author, what is your
      opinion on facilitated communication?

      Thanks
      DWight

      This is a bit off topic but I would like to answer it... (Mainly because as
      an advocate, I can't resist the opportunity to do what I do best...) :)

      Anita didn't write that post...I did. :)

      Facilitated communication, for those that don't know, is a process that
      (supposedly) allows children and adults with autism to communicate using a
      keyboard. There is a "facilitator" who holds the hand of the person typing, to make
      it more steady and to provide support. However, because the hand IS being
      held, it is unclear whether the person typing is the one with autism, or if it is
      the facilitator guiding the hand to to certain letters on the keyboard.

      Also, I seem to recall that in the early 90's when this whole thing started,
      there were a ton of allegations of sexual abuse that came through the
      facilitated communication. This led to problems because no one whther the typing was
      legit or not.

      I have had training in this technique and I have been on both sides of it.

      My opinion on this has changed over the years. At first I was a major
      supporter of facilitated communication. Check the tapes of my earlier conference
      presentations and you will hear me singing its praises.

      However, as time has gone by, and more reports have come in, I am having to
      change my thoughts. Bottom line is that it just doesn't seem to work. :( Now
      I have on occasion heard truthful reports of kids starting off facilitated
      and later going on to type by themselves. Obviously in these cases it DID work.
      But these cases are few and definitely far between.

      But this is typical of autism. What is good for the goose is not necessarily
      good for the gander. There are a lot of therapies out there for autism, and
      they don't work with everyone, but sometimes someone will benefit from it.

      Facilitatad Communication won't work with everyone. Auditory Integration
      Training won't work with everyone. B6/Magnesium megadoses won't work with
      everyone. However all of these therapies (and many others) have been shown to work
      with SOME people with autism. (I was one of the first with autism in the
      United States to have the Auditory Integration Training, it worked for me...for
      about three months, then I lost the effects and benefits. Check my web site for
      details.)

      Facilitated Communication is among the most controversial therapies for
      autism, and there is good reason for this. But because I *have* seen it work, I am
      not going to say "don't do it" as other advocates have, but I will say to be
      careful. Be VERY careful. Those sexual abuse scandals are still popping up
      once in a while...

      Thomas
      www.thomasamckean.com
      thomas@...
      Colonel, HOKC
      Member, ASA, Board of Directors, 1992-1994, 1997-2000
      Author, Soon Will Come The Light: A View From Inside The Autism Puzzle
      Author, Light On The Horizon: A Deeper View From Inside The Autism Puzzle


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