Re: Looking For The BBC / Facilitated Communication
- In a message dated 10/31/2004 2:22:45 AM Eastern Standard Time,
Hi Anita -
My nephew Is autistic. As an author, what is your
opinion on facilitated communication?
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
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...
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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