Banner
    Facilitated Communication: A Price Too High To Pay
    By Kim Wombles | January 24th 2011 05:56 PM | 58 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Kim

    Instructor of English and psychology and mother to three on the autism spectrum.

    Writer of the site countering.us (where most of these

    ...

    View Kim's Profile

    What are the prices we pay for following unsubstantiated treatments and bogus therapies? Sometimes, the costs are tragically high. Facilitated communication is unequivocally one of those bogus remedies that promises far more than it can deliver and can destroy lives in the process, lives like those of Julian and Thal Wendrow, whose 14-year-old daughter accused her father of molesting her for years and her mother of standing by while it happened.  Except it turns out that this young woman, severely autistic and nonverbal did no such thing; the aide at her school who facilitated her was the one to apparently type out the accusation.

     The Detroit Free Press reports:

    “A school aide reported that a 14-year-old autistic girl, who can't speak and functions at the level of a 2-year-old, was telling her that her father began raping her when she was 7 and her mother stood by. The claim came from a method known as facilitated communication, in which the aide helped the girl type on a keyboard.

    There was no physical evidence the girl had been assaulted, but the typed message became the key evidence against West Bloomfield residents Julian and Thal Wendrow.”

    Julian and Thal Wendrow got some small measure of justice recently when “the township's insurance carrier has agreed to pay his family and attorney $1.8 million to settle a wrongful-arrest suit.”They still have ongoing suits against the prosecutor, the school district, and Michigan’s Department of Human Services.

    If this were the only case of wrongful accusations from children who were being facilitated, perhaps we could dismiss this case as a fluke. But it’s not the only case. In 1995, Bryna Siegel referred to two cases where, through the means of facilitated communication, fathers were accused of molesting their children. Fortunately, through Siegel’s assessment showing that facilitated communication with two different and new-to-the-children facilitators resulted in “little reliable communication…via FC” and the charges were dropped.  A review of Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw will bring up more cases like this, as will any search of the Psychology or Education journal databases.

    What is especially heinous about this case is the ignorance and unwillingness of the prosecutor’s office in 2008 to investigate the merits of facilitated communication. Indeed, according to the Denver Free Press, “Oakland County prosecutors said in depositions that they did not investigate the facilitated communication method before charging the Wendrows, and could not find anyone to testify that the method is reliable, despite nationwide calls after the arrests.” Couple this incredible lapse on the prosecutors’ parts with the judge, despite cases dating back to 1992 of judges ruling “that allegations made by F/C could not be considered as evidence because the validity of F/C has not been established,” and you have a catastrophe that was completely avoidable.

    It gets worse, though. What was a debunked therapy doing in the local school system, giving FC the patina of respectability? Why is FC still going strong despite two decades of solid evidence that is nothing more than a scam? Well, we can look to Douglas Biklen and his employer, Syracuse University, who think so highly of him that he is their Dean of the School of Education, where he continues to promote actively the debunked facilitated communication method with his newly renamed and revamped Institute on Communication and Inclusion. And yet, where was expert Douglas Biklen when those Oakland County prosecutors put out the call for FC experts? Why, if he believes so strongly in his facilitated communication method was he not offering his services? If it's real, then wouldn't he be the first to testify to its legitimacy, to ensure the safety and well-being of those whose only "voice" is through his facilitated communication method?

    Facilitated communication, to quote Robert T. Carroll of the Skeptic’s Dictionary, is a “dangerous delusion.” It is a delusion we can ill afford and school districts who use it and its weaker cousin rapid prompting method must be held to higher standards, empirical standards. Our most vulnerable must not have their voices, their communication, co-opted by well-meaning but misguided facilitators and even worse, those charlatans who know what they do and do it intentionally in order to line their pockets and cast themselves to desperate parents as the heroic persons who set free the hidden person that autism had locked away. 

    But, I can comment from afar in blog-world, safe from the direct vicissitudes of facilitated irrationality.  The worst I might have to endure are comments from true believers defending what, by any reasonable standards has long-since ceased to be defensible.  I can be depressed and appalled, perhaps with an emotional toll, but my garden will be there, the cats will purr, and I'll go to work tomorrow.  What is it like when it really counts, when a man's life literally hangs in the balance--a man sitting alone in jail, who might stay there for years or decades to come due to fantastic allegations of years incest, rape, and abuse?  What is it like when the key to freedom is held by authorities who are disinclined by politics to be receptive to any counterarguments and inclined by irrationality to be especially disdainful of science?  Jim Todd, who has occasionally commented here on this blog on FC and related matters, has seen this first-hand, and tells that even very high stakes seem to have little moderating effect on woo.  We'd hope that understanding the massive power the state holds over defendants, especially those in abuse cases where the standard rules of evidence are relaxed, our justice system might heed the words of Robert H. Jackson in his classic 1940 essay, "The Federal Prosecutor."

    It appears the opposite was true in the case at hand.  Now over to Jim:

    I was one of the defense experts in the original criminal case against the Wendrows, along with Howard Shane, both of us testifying and consulting. It is hardly possible to describe how bizarre,vicious, and unjust the prosecution of the family was. In a rational world, accusations arising from facilitated communication would never be used in court.  Facilitated accusations would summarily dismissed, and those who advanced them would be the ones in trouble. After more than a quarter century, there remains not a single methodologically sound study showing that FC has worked for a single individual.  Dozens of studies have shown it reliably fails to produce genuine communication.  The output is the facilitator's. That is what the science has shown--over and over.  That's the reality of FC.  


    There are connections.  Five years ago, James Randi was scheduled to speak at Eastern Michigan University. The invitation was inspired, in part, by FC training sessions given by a local autism advocacy group. Randi issued his $1,000,000 challenge to the group. No one accepted despite their many hollow insistences that FC is absolutely real. A whole panel of "FC users" and their facilitators, all associated with the Syracuse University Facilitated Communication Institute, were listed as workshop "trainers." Yet none of them seemed to want a million dollars for doing something they claimed to do successfully every day, that they were taking money to teach. Those connections? The family in the case was at those training sessions, as was I. We saw different things. I saw facilitators pushing hands around, staring intently at letter boards and keyboards, the non-verbal "communicators" often looking everywhere but. The family, desperate for help for a child with severe autism, saw a communication miracle. And FC was relentlessly presented as a miracle. On the second day of the workshop, another mother tearfully reported that her non-verbal child, with the help of one of the workshop trainers, had supposedly typed, "I just wanted to tell you I love you," the very first time of being facilitated.  It is a tragedy that the family had to be tortured into seeing through the fraud.  


     The judge ruled in the case that FC is "interpretation," as in translating one language into another, thus a source of admissible testimony. For those not involved in legal issues, by ruling as he did, the judge effectively immunized the FC testimony against a general scientific challenge.  When he said that he found "nothing scientific" in FC, he wasn't declaring it a fraud. He was denying a Daubert hearing to determine the scientific reliability of the method. He ruled as he did despite hearing every expert inthe case argue against using FC testimony. Before long, no one but the the judge, prosecutor, and two school facilitators seemed to believe the accusations came from the girl. The doubters even included the prosecution's own expert, a long-time local FC advocate. She is a true, true believer who did not abandon her general belief in FC, but questioned the charges and the validity of the facilitated testimony. It's got to be a weak FC case when even FC advocates won't get behind it. She also had something to lose. She had introduced the family to FC. 


     The expert testimony, bolstered by anti-FC resolutions from the APA and several other major scientific and professional organizations, should have been enough to end the farce. But there were more affronts to science and rationality.  The judge ruled that FC was a valid form of testimony even after seeing two failed in-court tests of the girl's communication ability done on two different days. There was not a single correct answer given using FC when the facilitators could not hear the questions.  It is not evident from any of the news coverage, but the judge made essentially the same decision about FC as the Kansas Supreme Court made in a case involving FC in the early 1990s.  Whywould a judge rely for guidance on a case decided before any published science had been done on FC, ignoring the dozens of studies done since?  Why would the repudiation of the method by numerous professional and scientific groups mean nothing?  Why was the inability of the girl, supposedly capable of high school level work, to answer simple questions with FC, irrelevant?  I don't know. Maybe an ill-informed early decision (that does not even qualify as legal precedent in Michigan) is worth more to our court than all the objective science that has come since. I am not sure they viewed science as a legitimate or honorable activity.  A colleague who was working another case against the same prosecutor was reportedly referred to (sneeringly, it was said) as "the scientific testimony person." I was asked by the prosecutor, also sneeringly, if I understood the difference between scientific reality and legal reality. I answered that I hoped both would converge on the same reality.  That would not happen.  Any wormhole through which scientific facts might intrude upon our little universe was closed by the judge.    


     There's more. Much more. But to recount it all would be to try to write a book in this little space.  Suffice it to say that this was a prosecution which had lost its rational moorings, reaching and grasping for whatever it could in the absence of any credible evidence that a crime had even been committed.  If you want to understand the irrationality surrounding this, we could talk about how the judge threw out all notions of impartiality by allowing the aide who made the original accusations to serve as the "interpreter" for the girl in court.  We could talk about how the prosecution proposed a "blind" test in which the facilitator would have been allowed to hear the questions.  We could talk about how the facilitated testimony contained errors pointing directly to the facilitator as the source of the messages. We could talk about how the father was jailed (for contempt) despite statements from the court's assigned guardian, a rabbi, that the father had not, in fact, visited the daughter against court orders.  We could talk about the warrants that failed to turn up the gun, pictures, or any of the other incriminating items that the facilitator typed that  the family had.  However, perhaps the most salient evidence that things in the prosecutor's office were not going to be tied to  reality comes from the contemporaneous "Perry" case against a kindergarten teacher also falsely accused of abuse. The very same prosecutor argued in Perry that Mr. Perry owned pornography. Challenged on this, the prosecutor revealed that the movies were"Star Wars," "Harry Potter," and similar offerings, actually characterizing them as "non-erotic pornography."  I submit that anyone capable of making that kind of illogical leap to incriminate a man against whom only the flimsiest of evidence was available is capable of believing anything whatsoever--including FC.   


     We are told that in the end the science Howard and I offered in testimony convinced someone in the prosecutor's office, forcing the county to drop the FC case.  Even that was not without controversy. The prosecutor claimed the girl typed, with FC, that she was unwilling totestify against her parents, then moved to keep her away from the family. Another judge denied the motion, and quickly reunited everyone.


     This case? It's a civil suit with lots of defendants. The police have settled. That was not a foregone conclusion. But, they could probably do nothing else given the huge embarrassment the incident continues to bring to them.  They admit no fault.  Let's hope that behind the legal distancing, they have become more educated.  Pretty much everyone else involved in the school and prosecutor's office have either qualified or absolute immunity.  The school district itself may be a different story. The vagaries of justice mean almost anything can happen--but that it will probably be a long coming no matter what it is.  


     James T. Todd, Ph.D.

    Comments

    Anything goes and anything can be justified. Well, if you have enough power (and money to give bribes). Of course, this attitude first appeared in politics but then it went to academia. Here is the case of justifications in academia aimed at concealing crime (the case is also prohibited to report in the mass media):
    http://www.universitytorontofraud.com
    Briefly:
    1. I was removed from the PhD program after five years by my supervisor.
    2. My research and discoveries were stolen/plagiarised by her in three papers.
    3. The justification appeared to be that she "salvaged" my research.
    So, was my research a good research or not? That cannot be officially answered as nobody ever forced the university to give any answer.
    Will you dare to ask them?

    I just found this blog entry, which prints out to more than 4 pages. It is now after 11:00 p.m. here and I will try to carefully read this blog entry and make a substantive comment tomorrow.

    Arthur Golden

    Gerhard Adam
    I certainly agree with you regarding the harm of FC in this, but it seems to me that this isn't exactly "rocket science".  Given the debacle of "recovered memories" in past years, it seems that the problem is that prosecutors are willing to believe the worst about parents simply because, if true, will create a press feeding frenzy of publicity.  In other words, it about making careers and not obtaining the truth.

    One would think that for such a charge to be made, that everyone would have an appropriate sense of seriousness and carefully investigate such a claim, knowing precisely how damaging an error could be.  But as we've seen from past claims, the legal system has absolutely no interest in such a truth.

    The mere fact that abuses of children occur is not sufficient justification to accuse every parent.  In particular, the people that were handling the FC extend the bounds of "stupid" beyond anything I've seen before.  People are fond of saying that no one is above the law, but prosecutors and judges are.  Since they are not liable for their actions (unless they can be shown to be criminal), a prosecutor can act without regard for the accuracy of their charges.  I don't have enough faith in an individual being conscientious to grant that kind of autonomy to lawyers.

    Mundus vult decipi
    1. There are so many statements in this blog entry that I wish to comment and question, but let me start with just one quote from the section written by Professor James Todd.

    2. In the middle of the second paragraph of his section, Professor Todd writes:

    "The family in the case was at those training sessions, as was I. We saw different things. I saw facilitators pushing hands around, staring intently at letter boards and keyboards, the non-verbal "communicators" often looking everywhere but."

    4. Both Professor Todd and I have been observing teachers (or aides and others) as Facilitators doing Facilitated Communication with nonverbal persons for about 20 years, and for much longer we also have been observing, as part of ABA, teachers doing full physical prompting with nonverbal persons including intentionally "pushing around hands." I cannot "see" any difference but I can only "feel" a difference that when I and others are being facilitators we are definitely not "pushing around hands." As a PhD behavioral psychologist, I can believe Professor Todd that he sincerely believes based on his ABA training that he sees teachers (or aides and others) "pushing around hands" and that is what he is does when he thinks he or others are being a "Facilitator" doing Facilitated Communication with nonverbal persons.

    5. Therefore, based on his own statement that he saw people "pushing around hands" which is not what a Facilitator is doing even if that is what he thinks he saw, it is my understanding that Professor Todd is mistaken about what it means to be a Facilitator doing Facilitated Communication with nonverbal persons. In the case of the Wendrow family, I think it is likely that the daughter's aide after only 2 hours of training in Facilitated Communication, was also so mistaken and therefore this aide was not actually a Facilitator and was not even involved in actually doing Facilitated Communication! I have very little information about what happened before the girl entered High School that year and I have no opinion about whether previously there were actual Facilitators doing Facilitated Communication. I am aware that even if a nonverbal person starts to do Facilitated Communication that there can be a breakdown in new settings and that may be what happened in this case.

    6. When I saw the December 18, 2007 article in the Detroit Free Press about this case, there was enough information for me to identify the anonymous family but since the father's lawyer was named, I immediately emailed that lawyer, offering my help. The article mentioned that Howard Shane of Boston was contacted but there was no mention of Professor Todd of the Detroit, Michigan area. At that time, I was aware of how similar situations had been handled in Italy, from a source available to Professor Todd. In Italy, there is a well-organized program with a national director of properly training teachers (or aides and others) to be Facilitators doing Facilitated Communication with nonverbal persons. Then in Italy, there have been others who think they are Facilitators but who do not have adequate training and sometimes those others (but never persons who are properly trained) get involved in sexual abuse charges. In such cases, the national director has been successful in explaining to the authorities that these others are not actually Facilitators doing Facilitated Communication and these charges have always been dismissed without any similar harm to the families as occurred to the Wendrow family. Unfortunately, the father's lawyer ignored my email and I was quite shocked to learn 2 months later from the news articles in the Detroit Free Press that the father had been jailed for what turned out to be 80 days.

    7. In summary about this one quote, let me clearly state that my position is that the aide in the Wendrow case was not actually a Facilitator doing Facilitated Communication with a nonverbal person. I wonder if my position was explained to the authorities at the beginning of this tragic situation if the outcome would have been less traumatic. However, there did seem to be other severe problems with the local authorities that really had nothing to do with Facilitated Communication.

    Arthur Golden

    Arthur:

    Thank you for your considered comments.

    You are correct that physical prompting is sometimes used in teaching physical movements in ABA programs. They are also used in teaching golf. However, in ABA and golf instruction, the goal is to fade those prompts as quickly and thoroughly as possible, putting the behavior under control of relevant stimuli. In doing so, any good behavior analyst is going to take specific steps to prevent and test for residual prompt dependence and inappropriate prompt transfer.

    I do not see the same things being done or even advocated in FC or Rapid Prompting. FC, in its haphazard way, and Rapid Prompting by design, replicate well-established and documented methods by which overt, conscious prompts are made subtle, unconscious, and tied to the actions of the facilitator. That is, through mutually reinforcing feedback, the "communicator" becomes increasingly sensitive to increasingly smaller cues, while the facilitator becomes increasingly insensitive to giving them. Instead of becoming more important, the world outside of the facilitator/communicator dyad becomes less relevant. The point of ABA is to make the ABA therapist's guidance irrelevant, leaving the person to interact directly with his or her environment.

    Everybody agrees that facilitator control can occur--exactly as described by the critics of FC and Rapid Prompting, and as documented, not just in experimental literature on FC, but also over the last two centuries in the literature of unconscious behavioral influence. It does not take ABA training to see what is going on in FC and Rapid Prompting. Chevreul, author of the 1854 classicDe la baguette divinatoire, ou pendule dit explorateur et des tables tournantes would not have been fooled; Faraday, in the same era, would have recognized in FC and Rapid Prompting the same forms of unconscious control as he saw in his experiments on table-tipping; forty years later, Solomons and Stein might have said: "Of course the facilitators 'feel' the communicator initiating the movement. People doing automatic writing entirely in private report feeling outside forces moving the pen;" an exasperated William Frederick Pinchbeck, author of the 1805 Expositor might have said, "I devoted a quarter of my first book to warning you, point-by-point and in exquisite detail, about exactly, precisely, unequivocally this very thing!"

    However, having acknowledged the problem, neither FC nor Rapid Prompting does anything meaningful about it. (Well, FC acknowledges the problem. Rapid Prompting remains strategically oblivious. "Cueing? Who, us?") To include appropriate controls and assessment probes would quickly reveal the true source of the messages, eventually destroying the entire faux literacy enterprise. Instead, the advice is not to test--to do so would be "insulting" to the communicator--and to rely for proof on testimonials, anecdotes, and some of the most poorly designed experiments in the entire developmental disabilities literature. Thus, someone's guess about whether the facilitator might or might not have known something revealed in the typing replaces a simple and direct test of facilitator control. Experiments extraordinary in their ineptitude are trotted out as if to prove that, along with their disdain for science, the advocates of FC and Rapid Prompting wouldn't recognize if it offered them a $1,000,000 to give it a try. If the answers only appear in your experiment when someone who knows them attends the test sessions, you've got a problem; if supposedly proficient facilitated communicators get more than 90% of the answers to simple questions wrong, you're disproving, not proving, FC; if you give your facilitators direct and immediate feedback on the accuracy of each of their answers, you haven't got a blind experiment. Where is the actual interest in protecting the communicator from the inept facilitators the FC advocates claim are the real cause of these false accusations? How is it insulting to the communicator to do the most thorough and objective tests possible to determine the quality and lack of intrusiveness of the guidance? This is an exceedingly thin-skinned bunch, to be more worried about giving offenses than about whether their method actually works.

    As for the facilitators I saw, we're not talking cleverly done FC with output produced by subtle touches and surreptitious movements. This was primarily hold-on-tight-and-make-them-type FC. What I am I supposed to conclude when a facilitator continues guiding the typing while the communicator is beginning a tantrum, trying to get away, not looking at the keyboard, with one foot already off the dais? They say people with autism have really good peripheral vision--this to account for typing while looking away. But, when I held my head in the same position as one communicator, it wasn't an issue of seeing the keyboard with peripheral vision. It was an issue of can't see it at all. What about when a facilitator gets distracted and says the words before they are typed? Remember, that even the most inept FC can fool those prepared to believe in it. Consider how bad the FC was with Rom Houben was. Eyes closed. Apparently asleep or unconscious. Facing the floor. Yet, brain scientist Stephen Laureys, who has both a Ph.D. and M.D., was taken in. Consider the producers of the Rapid Prompting movie, "A Mother's Courage" ("Solskínsdrengurinn"/"Sunshine Boy"), who seemed not to notice what was happening in the scene at 1 hr 22 min in which Soma Mukhopadhyay so obviously moved the letter board back and forth to guide the letter to the child's pointer, all while the child was clearly far more interested in getting to and eating whatever was up his nose.

    The Italians FC advocates? Really? A man in legal jeopardy should turn to them for guidance? Are we speaking of the same people who, rather than critically examining the validity and efficacy of their practices, seriously recommended changing the name of "Facilitated Communication" (Comunicazione Facilitata) to W.O.C.E: "Written Output Communication Enhancement" so that they might draw less negative attention to themselves (http://tinyurl.com/4fepjmd)? Are we talking about the same people who believe that FC is proven by the observation that what is said by the facilitator alone is distinguishable from what is typed when the facilitator does FC with someone (Zanobini & Scopesi, 2001). I have noted that I write differently when I create text messages than when I type as I am doing now. Am I two different people? Are these the same people who, incredibly, claim to have found something meaningful about autism by comparing test results done with facilitated children with autism to the results from unaffected peers doing the tests on their own (Bara, Bucciarlelli, & Colle, 2001)? That is, are we talking about people whose scientific and methodological acumen is so defective that they could not seriously consider that the adult-like performances of the facilitated group might have been due to the fact that adults were taking the tests?

    Besides, when false facilitated accusations are at the heart of a case, is it really good legal strategy to stipulate the validity of the method that produced them, leaving a challenge to each facilitator's individual competence as the main defense. That's why the FC advocate expert was on the prosecution's side, not the defense. And remember, the police and prosecutors already believed the facilitators; the police and prosecutors continued to use the accusing facilitator as "interpreter" throughout the case despite the obvious affronts to impartiality and opportunities for witness tampering--the latter, witness tampering, a charge leveled at the mother and father due to facilitated typing, but not, incredibly and astonishingly, at the facilitators who produced more and more accusations, and continued to "converse" with the girl at school. Remember also that the judge relied, seemingly without question, on the typing of the same facilitators for the contempt ruling that actually put Mr. Wendrow in jail and his wife on an electronic tether. What should make us believe that anyone in the bizarre legal environment of Gorcyca's prosecutor's office, where abuse case were pursued with a fetishistic zeal no matter how weak, that the word of someone no one had ever heard of from overseas would make any difference when world-class experts on the topic were available and were casting even greater doubt on the whole enterprise, or when search warrants and objective tests turned up nothing?

    I agree that there was something going wrong in the Prosecutor's office. I would add that the judicial reasoning that required cherry-picking two ancient cases as "guidance" rather than the many more in which FC is regarded as prima facie unreliable due to it not being a generally accepted technique, or the withering testimony presented by the experts, or the two failed in-court message-passing tests, was also defective. In this, I agree with Brain Gorman's assessment of the legal situation surrounding FC in his excellent article, "Facilitated Communication: Rejected in Science, Accepted in Court--A Case Study and Analysis of the Use of FC Evidence Under Frye and Daubert." (Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 17(4), 517-541.) Nevertheless, I come back to my original conclusion that science must be important in these legal decisions, as should reason. Had science and reason been operating in this case, there would have been no case. Of course, if science and reason operated more generally, FC, Rapid Prompting, and their relatives would be minor footnotes in the history of developmental disabilities, and the only thing we'd be reading about them would be retrospective articles asking the question: "Who'd a thunk anyone'd a thunk it?"

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.

    What are the prices we pay for following unsubstantiated treatments and bogus therapies? Sometimes, the costs are tragically high. Facilitated communication is unequivocally one of those bogus remedies that promises far more than it can deliver and candestroy livesin the process [ref say]
    COMMENT
    Nothing new here...FC snake oil advocates, flat earthers,continue to quote a justice system flaw to put down FC...todd, etal should get a new act.
    Agree costs are tragically high for following unsubstantiated treatments and bogus therapies...however FC is NOT unequivocally one...ABA perhaps...see ms dawson*s THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS.
    ms dawson*s say promotional science is used to justify ABA...it*s the same promotional science (tobacco science) used to discredit FC.
    FC v sciencedude (see members), etals was discussed ad nauseam on LBRB blog: *Facilitated Communication...where does a neurodiverse skeptic stand?* http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/10/facilitated-communication-where...
    stanley seigler

    Jim,

    8. Thank you for your very detailed reply to my comment posted yesterday which I numbered 1 to 7. You or others may have noticed that number 3 is missing. I had a second quote from your section of this week's blog entry, which I decided to delete but failed to change the numbers. The quote, from the end of the first paragraph of your section of the blog, was:

    "After more than a quarter century, there remains not a single methodologically sound study showing that FC has worked for a single individual. Dozens of studies have shown it reliably fails to produce genuine communication. The output is the facilitator's. That is what the science has shown--over and over. That's the reality of FC."

    9. Although your reply was posted just hours after my most recent public comment quoting you about "pushing around hands" I wish to note that I orginally posted a public comment over 9 months ago which asked for a clarification about 5 statements in your publicly posted interview, including about a very similar statement. Of course, I do greatly appreciate your more detailed explanation about one of 5 statements I originally publicly sought clarification over 9 months ago. As I stated in my previous comment in number 4, both [you] Professor Todd and I have been observing teachers (or aides and others) as Facilitators doing Facilitated Communication with nonverbal persons for about 20 years, and for much longer we also have been observing, as part of ABA, teachers doing full physical prompting with nonverbal persons including intentionally "pushing around hands."

    10. It appears that you and I are not in agreement about what we have been seeing for about 20 years with FC nor for over 30 years with ABA. Although my own son Ben stopped doing an ABA-type program over 25 years ago and first did FC with Marilyn Chadwick as the facilitator 20 years ago, I still see others doing ABA here in Israel. Anyway, now that I finally have this more detailed information from you, I will have to think about it before making further comments in direct reply to you.

    11. Meanwhile, since this comment is not yet too long, I will now write out some comments about the second quote that I deleted from number 3 but have now quoted in number 8 above.

    12. There are several studies from 1988 to 1993 showing that FC has worked for different groups of 21 to 34 individuals, mostly with autism, totalling over 100 persons, including published in a peer-reviewed journal and an official government report. The FC advocates seem to have proceeded since then based on these studies. There are other studies subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals "showing that FC has worked." I realize that you state as of this month of January 2011 that "there remains not a single methodologically sound study showing that FC has worked for a single individual" but have you published your statement in a peer-reviewed journal? Besides being in contact with you over the past several months, I have been in contact with other PhD psychologists who disagree with your position. I hope these other PhD psychologists might publish a review article in a peer-reviewed journal about the studies of FC. I would suggest you do the same if you wish to keep making such public statements.. These other PhD psychologists would not make public comments similar to yours because they believe the only ethical way to do so publicly would be by publishing a peer-reviewed review article about the studies of FC.

    13. I already understood your interpretation of the experimental data from the studies supposedly about FC such as "the output is the facilitator's." I do wish to note that the most recent review article by Mostert 2010 only looked for peer-reviewed studies from 1998 to 2008 and arbitrarily excluded any studies not published in English but did include:

    Wegner D, Fuller V & Sparrow B (2003) Clever Hands: Uncontrolled Intelligence in Facilitated Communication. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003, Vol. 85, No. 1, 5–19.

    14. I am trying to obtain full texts of all studies supposedly about FC (noting that Wegner 2003 did not involve any actual FC users so I disagree with its inclusion as a study about FC) including those not in English which I know includes studies in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Danish etc. Only when you can show me that you have read and understood all the studies really about FC, then you and I can intelligently discuss your above quote at number 8.

    Arthur Golden

    point: instead of pot (PhD psychologist) calling kettle black...seems their time better spent researching "the nature of intelligence in autism"...eg, the innate ability some/many/most on the spectrum have to communicate (and learn) without formal education...in many cases this ability is surfaced by FC...eg;

    todd [LBRB blog] acknowledges “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...he then dismisses amazing feats and abounding testimonials as FC tricks..."anyone can make claims and lots of people, universities have been fooled..." ...these poor university simpletons.

    re: Sometimes, the costs are tragically high...ABA perhaps...see ms dawson*s THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS (2004) http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/naa_aba.html

    in case some havent/wont read ms dawson...her partial conclusions:

    [quote] My fourth ethical challenge to the autism-ABA industry is directly stated: I challenge behaviorists to realize that human rights violations do not just damage and destroy their victims. They also damage those who commit them. Human rights violations compromise your work, mar your science, and undermine your credibility. They cast doubt on your successes and call into question your own humanity. You have decided to deny our rights and our worth to get what you want and this leads to worst outcomes for everyone. [except to the ABAer bank account]
    [quote] But behaviorists have a greater responsibility than these other scientists, or anyone else working in autism. They have used the words "scientifically proven" and "medically necessary", and have successfully imposed them on society. These words are not just adjectives used to sell a service. They have legal and public consequences which have been and will be felt by everyone.
    [quote] "Scientifically proven" and "medically necessary" are terms that encompass the assumption that the scientific and medical ethics have been accounted for. In autism, these terms are applied to a treatment whose ethics remain unexamined and unchallenged. [unquote]

    wondering if most todd, etals are behaviorists...BTW ms dawson has the same low opine of FCers...
    stanley seigler

    As a state licensed speech/language pathologist who has focused on working with individuals on the autism spectrum for the past 20 years, I would like to get my 2 cents worth in on this discourse on Facilitated Communication.

    May I first mention that I have worked with individuals on the autism spectrum across a large spectrum of ages, from 2 yrs. (early intervention programs), to school-age children, to senior citizens (adults in group home or work settings). In order to better understand and serve these individuals I have sought out training in a wide array of teaching methods, such as Lovaas-style ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), PECS, sign language, "Floor Time", PROMPT and have utilized approaches from TEACCH, the Miller Method, the Son-Rise program and various visual strategies and technologies. I received training in Facilitated Communication in 1991 and later in RPM. All of these methods have merit. None of these approaches is "The Answer". All of these approaches have been used, in some cases, in programs that pretty much ignore the other programs. The programs I found to produce the best results in developing skills, socialization and communication cherry-picked from many approaches. This was most useful when teaching programs were developed for individuals, recognizing the unique abilities, gifts and needs of each person.

    It must be understood that FC is a method of supporting an individual physically and emotionally so that the individual can express his thoughts and feelings. That support can take a myriad of forms. Initially, the person may need to be supported at the hand so that he can isolate the index finger to point. The facilitator holds the person's hand back, away from the picture or letter display/keyboard and provides resistance, against which the individual pushes through to the communication display. Some people, especially initially, need very strong resistance in order to control movement
    toward the desired target. Over time the individual may need less resistance, but the facilitator must never lead the person's hand toward the target. The major goal of FC is to provide the individual with a way of communicating as fully as possible. A secondary, but also imperative goal, is to collaborate with the individual to fade the physical support as soon as possible. It should be noted that in the early years of FC, it was not well recognized that these individuals who could not initially point/type without physical support would be capable to learning to do so independently. Some individuals have learned to do so only after many years of supported typing. It is only in more recent years that this move toward independent communication has been strongly encouraged.

    At present, facilitators are highly encouraged to work toward helping the individual to develop the ability to point independently at a yes/no "board" for quick, easy responses and/or to confirm or deny their more lengthy responses. As pointed out in comments above, it is undeniably possible for facilitators to influence what is typed. It is also possible for typical people to subtly influence the communication of others. It happens all the time! However, a good facilitator makes a conscious effort to "empty their mind" and to be ever vigil to NOT move toward a particular letter or even, area of the keyboard. It is sometimes difficult to not anticipate what the next word is going to be when the FC user is in the middle of a sentence. Again, how often do we neurotypicals find ourselves finishing the sentences of our communication partners? But oftentimes we're wrong, and we should make every effort to avoid doing so.

    I have been using FC with "students" (some of whom have become close friends) for 20 years. I have facilitated dozens of individuals of all ages. I have a good reputation as a therapist, and I am considered to be a "normal" stable person with a healthy interest and respect for "good" science. How can I continue to use FC when I'm well aware of the research? I use it because I see it working and it makes people happier. I am a designated advocate and friend of 3 young autistic adults and friend of another. I see them several times each month. Two of the 4 use FC in their homes and work places. I train their staff. Over the course of many years, they are accepted as intelligent individuals who are trapped in their bodies. Staff see them differently, speak to them differently. My friends appreciate that. Both have had behavior problems in the past. Since using FC and having the opportunity to explain their behavior and specify what they want and need in their lives, their problem behaviors are virtually non-existent. Both use independent yes/no pointing with all staff (including those not yet trained as facilitators). Neither has learned to type independently, but one is very close. He can type while his sister just lightly touches his arm or shoulder. With other less familiar facilitators he needs more support to his arm. He doesn't stay visually focused on the board, but he glances at it to re-orient. Like Temple Grandin, he says he can see it in his mind when he looks away.

    If someone I facilitate should produce a message that indicates that someone has abused them, I would follow the FC Institute guidelines that recommend bringing in a (trained and experienced) naive facilitator to interview the individual.
    In the 20 years I have been facilitating many persons, I have only once encountered that type of communication. The
    complaint was backed up by physical evidence and both the perpetrator (also an FC user) and the accuser told a naive facilitator essentially the same story. It was settled out of court.

    And what about the research? I wish I had the answers. I do not. But I do see autism, and the way autism is experienced by different people as being enormously complex. Our current definitions don't begin to tell the story. I don't think we can explain autism with the "knowledge" we have so far. There is some sloppy research debunking FC and supporting it. I would like to see more collaborative research. I would like to see those who are convinced FC is a sham get down and dirty and meet the people who are using it successfully, spend time with them, recognize and acknowledge that while FC is not the answer for all, it does work for some.

    P.S. I don't know of a single soul who is getting rich on FC!!!!!

    Arthur, Stanley, & Harriet:

    That you all for your responses, which I will address in turn.

    First, I thank Arthur once again for a response free of the vituperation that often characterizes the responses of FC advocates to questions of their claims. Although more discursive than his first entry, Arthur's main contention seems to be that there are studies in peer reviewed journals that support FC, and, further, there are Ph.D.s who endorse FC.

    Let's dispense with the latter item first. Having a doctorate does not always mean one is either sensible or knowledgable about anything. I previously noted the case of Stephen Laureys, who has multiple doctorates and was apparently fooled by a nurse banging Rom Houben's hand around on a keyboard as the man slumped in his chair. One of the facilitators in Wendrow case was an instructor in Special Education, teaching classes at my own university. The person who got family into FC, and continues to endorse FC even after seeing her own clients arrested, is a licensed Ph.D. clinical psychologist in Michigan and former professor here. Egaz Moniz won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. Should we therefore endorse his major contribution to health care: the lobotomy?

    But everybody knows of and can cite bedoctored fools and highly educated knaves. Some of the FC people say I am such a person. No matter--their fulminations about my supposed ignorance suggest they have little of substance to contribute. In any case, we typically hope that an advanced degree suggests competence. But knowing of too many exceptions, we also look at the scientific and rational integrity of what has been done by the individual. Trust, but verify. And Arthur points to that: the research. Thus, Arthur quotes statement by me as an apparent counterpoint to a later claim Arthur himself makes. I said:

    "After more than a quarter century, there remains not a single methodologically sound study showing that FC has worked for a single individual. Dozens of studies have shown it reliably fails to produce genuine communication."

    Later, Arthur writes:

    "There are several studies from 1988 to 1993 showing that FC has worked for different groups of 21 to 34 individuals, mostly with autism, totalling over 100 persons, including published in a peer-reviewed journal and an official government report. The FC advocates seem to have proceeded since then based on these studies. There are other studies subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals "showing that FC has worked."

    The difference between the two statements is simple. I am correct and Arthur is wrong. At least Arthur is wrong if, by "studies," he means "methodological sound experimental investigations," and not "something someone has managed to get into a journal asserting, without good evidence, the validity of FC." Actually, Arthur means the latter. He is repeating standard Syracuse-inspired FC talking points wherein published anecdotes and methodological train wrecks are cited as if they are the kind of high-quality, objective analyses of the validity and reliability of a technique we'd hope to have if we are going to summarily jail people on the basis of evidence arising from that technique. I have already described some of the problems with little apparent effect. What else can I do? Maybe a version of the "Lightning Round" from the old "Password" game show? Let's cite some of the items that FC advocates routinely trot out in support of statements like Arthur's about evidence supporting FC, and see if we can dispatch each of them in a sentence or two.

    Calculator & Singer (1992): This is a non-peer reviewed "Letter to the Editor" with poor controls that permitted speech sounds to be heard by the facilitators through headphones meant to prevent them from hearing the questions. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Cardinal, Hanson, & Wakeham (1996): 43 supposedly FC-proficient communicator/facilitator pairs produced over 90% wrong answers to simple identification questions, even though the facilitators were provided a list of answers. The pairs produced a higher percentage of correctly spelled wrong answers from the word list than correct answers. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Sheehan and Matuozzi (1996): Three supposedly FC-proficient communicator/facilitator pairs produced only about 10% relevant responses out of 720 instances of communication. The supposedly "blind" test involved a person knowledgeable about the stimuli giving direct accuracy feedback to the facilitators, and allowing repeated attempts to produce a meaningful answer--over 60 tries in one case. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Weiss, Wagner and Bauman, (1996): A boy who could supposedly get As and Bs in middle school with FC barely seemed to pass, with facilitation, a second-grade level social story recall test even after hearing the story read and seeing it typed before the test, and "practicing" the answers with a second facilitator, also shortly before the tests. The experimenters indicated that the testing procedures were developed over a period of months, but began to work after the practice facilitator (who was also an experimenter) started attending the test sessions. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Janzen-Wilde, Duchan and Higginbotham (1995): This is not a controlled study. It is a descriptive case account of the verbal output of a six-year old child to FC output attributed to him. The child could speak, and the study has insufficient protections against cueing of the facilitator by the child to produce meaningful output for analysis. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Niemi and Karna-Lin (2002): This is not a controlled study. It is a content analysis of the FC transcripts attributed to a 21-year-old man over three years. The FC is judged to be genuine and independent based on its contents alone. Essentially, the authors merely insist that the communication is real because it not like typical speech. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Emerson, Grayson, and Griffiths (2001): The authors reported doing objective tests of the FC of 14 supposedly proficient communicator/facilitator pairs, admitting that those tests failed to show evidence of authentic communication. They then dismissed those findings and declared FC genuine on the basis of the discovery of "communications relevant to self” in transcripts from the same subjects' FC made over a period of several years. What a "communication relevant to self" was exactly, or why we should not expect the subject's regular facilitator to know about a subject's preferences or activities, is not explained. The authors also did not explain why we are supposed to accept FC is reliable or useful communication too when the subjects produced "communications relevant to self" between a minimum of one time every two years and a maximum of three instances per year. Or, after the authors themselves stated: "In addition, some participants offered communications which when checked were found to be incorrect. Participant 1 showed a pattern of typing (with physical support) incorrect information with each new facilitator." (p. 100).
    Rubin, Biklen, Kasa-Hendrickson, Kluth, Cardinal and Broderick (2001): This is not a controlled study. It is presented as an "interview" that supposedly gives a “non-speaking person’s perspectives on independence.” The first author, Sue Rubin, is supposedly an “independent communicator" due to FC. However, the word "independent" does not mean what the rest of us might imagine it does. According to Robledo & Donnellan (2008), Rubin was "independent," but "did require a supporter to hold the typing device while she typed" (p. 300). This means she was not independent. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Bara, Bucciarlelli, & Colle (2001): These authors compared test results done with facilitated children with autism to the results from unaffected peers doing the tests on their own. They simply accepted the FC as valid, and did not think to attribute the adult-like performances of the facilitated group to the fact that adults were taking the tests for the children. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Tuzzi, Cemin, and Castagna (2004): This is not a controlled study. It is a content analysis of FC output of 11 supposedly proficient FC users aged 9-22. The facilitated output was compared questions and comments of the facilitators during facilitation. They claim that because the FC output differs from that of the facilitators alone, the FC output cannot be that of the facilitator. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Zanobini and Scopesi (2001): This not a controlled validation study. It is an Italian language content analysis of 28 instances of FC output attributed to a seven-year old boy, his mother, and teacher. The authors seem to believe that differences between the facilitated output and the facilitator's own output indicate the authenticity of the FC. However, the authors are only equivocal. The results, “may indicate a degree of linguistic independence from facilitation.” There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    Bundschuh and Basler-Eggen’s (2000): This is a report of seemingly blinded FC validation experiment included in a non-peer reviewed German language report on FC. I say "seemingly blinded" because it was not really a blind procedure all. Basler-Eggen not only served as facilitator during the tests, she also created all the stimulus materials. It is seems quite likely she could have recalled the answer to each question--being the author of the test and all. There was no independent, methodologically sound test for facilitator control.

    Broderick and Kasa-Hendrickson (2001): This is not a controlled study. It is a descriptive report of speech and typing of one 12-13 year old boy who has supposedly now become an “independent communicator.” The main facilitator was the boy’s mother. There was no direct test for facilitator control.

    If Arthur has something more to offer than the "studies" I have listed--which is pretty much what there is--he should do so. However, I have plumbed these depths. I don't anticipate find FC treasures hidden in the abyss beneath all the murk we see at the surface. As for peer-review, if you want to publish something that asserts the validity of FC, there's always nonjudgmental home for it at "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities" under FC-loving editor, Stephen J. Taylor of Syracuse University. This is the wrong approach for a journal. "Nonjudgmental" is great if one is greeting a prodigal son. It is simply the wrong thing to do if one is a peer-reviewer. That job is more like St. Peter's.

    Now to "Stanley," who seems to find in my writing some kind of discrepancy.

    "todd [Left Brain Right Brain] acknowledges “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...he then dismisses amazing feats and abounding testimonials as FC tricks..."anyone can make claims and lots of people, universities have been fooled..." ...these poor university simpletons."

    No, not "acknowledged." I was describing the claims, not endorsing them. It seems clear enough. Thus, I would suggest a re-read of what I said, then submitting a revised comment addressing the fundamental issues rather than using the opportunity of an empty comment box to go astray into irrelevancies about ABA and practicing epithet hurling. The fundamental issue was empty claims and testimonials being put before reasonable scientific evidence in a way that directly undermines the rights of people with autism and harms their loved ones. And yes, universities and university people have been fooled before, especially by FC--and the FCs-like "discoveries" in other areas. Cold fusion came from a university, and a pretty good one: The University of Utah. The University of Nancy gave us "N-Rays." Duke University's Joseph and Louisa Rhine, who along with William McDougall, spent years being tricked by card sharps and mentalists, were unable to figure out a standard magicians' trick after actually setting up a camp to study Lady Wonder, the supposedly psychic horse. (McDougall's students included the fraud Cyril Burt, who in turn mentored astrology believer, "Bell Curve" endorser, and smoking/cancer connection doubter, Hans Eysenck.) Lightner Witmer, of the University of Pennsylvania, was taken in by a trained circus chimp, thinking it a kind of intermediate intellect between humans and others of its kind. Uri Geller fooled the people at Stanford University with his parlor tricks. James Randi's "Project Alpha" involved planting fake psychics who successfully fooled researchers at Washington University. No, the issue is not being at a university, but actually thinking like someone who is. That thinking does not include putting anecdote above evidence, mischaracterizing entire disciplines as Michelle Dawson does as if to elevate cherry picking and the straw argument to true art forms, or allowing others to steal the identities and futures of people with autism by holding their hands and speaking for them. ABA? I can hardly see how it is in any way sinister to use teaching methods refined by 120 years of basic and applied research to help people learn skills that might enable them to live more independent, dignified lives.

    Harriet James--I am assuming H. James is the Harriet James I know-- gives us a standard run-down on FC, sounding fairly reasonable in her sunny discourse on the benefits of the method. Among other things she says: it's not just physical, but emotional, support. Let's look at that. So fundamental is the emotional support that licensed speech professionals doing FC can engage in long-term friendships that licensed clinical psychologists would characterize as serious "boundary issues." Now, let's leave that aside, as it appears that even the ASHA ethics code doesn't seem to advise its clinicians against becoming completely entangled in the personal lives of their clients. Instead, we should look at Ms. James's incredible faith that facilitators can routinely do something, by simply wishing it to be so, that two centuries of scholarly research shows is essentially impossible for everyone else. Ms. James says, "a good facilitator makes a conscious effort to 'empty their mind' and to be ever vigil to NOT move toward a particular letter or even, area of the keyboard." Perhaps they try to do that, the vigilance. But when have they ever succeeded? What was going on with every single one of the dozens of facilitators that have been shown, unequivocally, to have been authoring the output? Do we have a magical situation in which only incompetent facilitators find their way into studies or get tested in court proceedings? Ms. James says, "I am considered to be a 'normal' stable person with a healthy interest and respect for 'good' science." Ms. James seems normal enough, but she is wrong about everything else. She does not respect good science, or at least she does not respect the relevant parts of it. Ms. James explicitly rejects (or is unaware of) of long-established science that repudiates the notion that one can merely "empty their mind" and avoid influencing or being influenced. Apparently, the basic and applied research on unconscious influences by Robert Rosenthal, Martin Gardner, Thomas Sebeok, John Stuart Mill, James Randi, Harry Houdini, Joseph Jastrow, Michel-Eugene Chevreul, Oskar Pfungst, Milbourn Christopher, Daniel Wegner, Michael Faraday, and many others done over the last two centuries or more mean nothing. All the controls done in science--the double-blind procedures, the placebos, the calibrated instruments, the independent replications, the everything, is done precisely because even the most careful scientists accept that they have the potential to bias their own results. I submit that anyone with a "healthy interest and respect for good science," would be horrified by the manner in which the purveyors of FC and Rapid Prompting assiduously avoid incorporating into their methods any real procedural protections against, or tests for, facilitator control. How far are facilitated communication and Rapid Prompting "behind the curve" in applying basic protective methodologies than do not depend on wishing and hoping? At least 370 years. Here in the 21st century, FC and Rapid Prompting advocates have yet to incorporate the kinds of controls that John Wilkins described in his 1641 book, "Mercury, or the Secret and Swift Messenger." It is hardly a wonder that everything produced since then has failed to have an impact.

    But, none of what I've written about in the preceding paragraph matters as much as Ms. James's naive and dangerous recommendation of the "independent facilitator" test in abuse cases. The idea is that when an abuse accusation is made, an "independent facilitator" is brought in to interpret separately for the putative accuser, to determine if there is reliability in the accusations. If the accounts differ, there's a problem; if they are the same, there's confirmation. Scientists and good defense attorneys would say at this point, "Wait a minute! Reliability is not accuracy. Even though we shouldn't be here at all given the mountain of evidence against the reliability of FC, we are stuck now with having to do two real authorship tests instead of one." However, we're not dealing with scientists, or even people who understand basic scientific things that are taught to teenagers in the first days of Psychology 101 -- or Biology 101, or Chemistry 101, or Physics 101, or Astronomy 101, or Botany 101, or Geology 101, or Economics 101, or Political Science 101, or Statistics 101, or Whatever 101. So, let just me say it right out: To enact the "independent facilitator" procedure in a delicate legal matter is stupid and undermines the integrity of the evidence in the case, is likely to lead to a bad outcome for everyone involved, and subverts, if it becomes standard practice, the basic legal protections everyone should have against false and specious evidence.

    Let's first note that the police and prosecutors are not going to do a science experiment. For some of them, the accusation is enough proof. They have a horrible abuser of children to get off the streets, and the rights of small, defenseless, voiceless child to protect--all embedded in a process designed to be adversarial. They are not going to avoid asking leading questions; they are not going to avoid using anything that comes out of the "independent facilitator" as additional evidence against the accused, even if it is not directly relevant; they are not going to avoid asking "yes/no" questions, the correct answers to which can easily be signaled by the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the interrogator. Any request by the defense for an evaluation of the FC by someone other than people who find the accusations credible enough to go forward, aided by people who are true believers in FC, will be strongly challenged by the prosecution and possibly denied by the judge. (Did Ms. James not read my account?) If the authorities will torture a 13-year-old boy, characterizing as "corroboration" the boy's tearful acquiescence to their vague speculations and lies about his father, they will most certainly manipulate an "independent facilitator." Indeed, interrogators need not get any answers at all about the alleged crime. They only need to get answers that make some kind of sense to "confirm" that FC "works."

    But, there's more. Even if the second facilitator types a complete and unequivocal denial of the events, it can matter little. The normal protections against weak, inconsistent, and hearsay evidence in ordinary adult cases are substantially weakened in abuse cases with children. (This, a legal legacy of the preschool sexual abuse hysteria of the '80s and early '90s.) An otherwise ironclad alibi may mean little when children are not expected to be able to accurately pin-point times and places. A discrepancy of days or even weeks can be explained away as a child's inability to understand time as adults do. A steadfast denial of everything by the second facilitator can be rationalized as the child becoming afraid or resistant--just as verbal children are said to do. Or, the authorities might just invoke FC lore, dismissing the second facilitator as incompetent, unreliable, or having otherwise failed to develop the needed "emotional connection" with the child. Completely different information arising from the second facilitator can be "new facts" or written off as the imprecise memories of a child who might be said to "not understand" what was going on. Completely chaotic testimony in verbal children, clearly influenced by adults, is hardly an impediment. The James Perry case, also in Michigan at the same time as ours, featured inconsistent testimony from a heavily coached small child (and his even more inconsistent friend), uncorroborated by any physical evidence at all. Yet, what was essentially a child's accusation, and nothing more, resulted in the conviction of Mr. Perry by a jury of 12 people, each of whom somehow found in the mess proof "beyond a reasonable doubt."

    Puzzling. FC sophistry says that there needs to be an emotional connection for FC to work. That's what the facilitators said in our case. FC experimental literature, such as it is, says that FC is too fragile to be tested in a "one-time-in-place" situations (e.g., Cardinal et al., 1996, p. 100). Yet, somehow we are to expect a complete stranger, the "independent facilitator," to show up to do FC successfully in minutes or hours, in what is supposedly a hellish situation in which a child is reporting sexual abuse by a trusted person or persons, all while possibly living in foster care with strangers. It seems that any failure of the "independent facilitator" can be explained away by logic from within FC itself: FC can't be tested directly by double-blind tests they say (too confrontational), therefore the ability of neither facilitator can be directly assessed. A failure there is also dismissible. If the FC seems to work with the "independent facilitator, rapport has been established. If it doesn't, rapport hasn't developed, and we have to depend on the statements of original facilitator. Falsifiability? Who cares? The court in Michigan wouldn't consider it. Falsifiability would be a critical element of a Daubert type analysis of scientific technique. But, because the "independent facilitator" test presupposes that FC is "interpretation," the integrity of which is ensured by oath and not the general evaluation of its merits as a scientific procedure, there won't be a scientific challenge of the whole enterprise.

    Ms. James suggests that the supposed discovery of abuse following facilitated abuse accusations validates the facilitated accusations. Is the complete illogic of that kind of contention entirely lost on the FC community? We should be appalled at the notion that an accusation (apparently against a nonverbal FC "user") arising from a procedure that has never been shown to work by any conventional standards was followed up by an investigation involving more of the thing that cannot be shown to work. Camus could have written it. Perhaps that woman in Barrie Ontario who found herself being investigated by child services due to a psychic's accusations should have hired a second psychic (tinyurl.com/4g7yzuk) instead of a lawyer. A warrant served at the wrong house might lead to the accidental discovery of a crime. But does that mean that making mistakes is a reliable or justifiable law enforcement tactic? No. The basic laws of statistics say that if we look randomly, we'll find things at exactly the rate they actually happen. But, it is precisely because random searching is addictive to authorities in the same way that slot machines are addictive to gamblers--the power of variable-ratio reinforcement--that we have Constitutional protections against most random law enforcement procedures, and demand good probable cause and rational analysis of objective evidence before going too far in a prosecution--or we should. We tell the story of Lavrentiy Beria, to whom is attributed the statement, "Show me the man, and I will find you the crime," as a cautionary tale, not as a lesson in the methods of justice. We tell students that coincidence is not proof so that they do not cite happenstance as a justification. When we approach abuse investigations as though we are pigeons in Skinner's superstitious behavior experiment, responding to fortuitous reinforcements as though they are real consequences of our behavior, everyone is in trouble, and there will be no justice for anybody.

    That should be enough for today. We shouldn't have needed anything--we're talking about pseudoscience here. But the vagaries of human nature mean that someone will try to patent another perpetual motion machine, some of which are at least interesting to look at, all shiny and brass. FC and Rapid Prompting, as we have seen, not so pretty.

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.

    No, not "acknowledged”...yes acknowledge as in “ to take notice of”...I did not allude you endorsed...stay on topic...
    the point was you claim those who practice the basis of most science, “observational”...seeing is believing...those who have put their hand in the spear wound...are poor simpletons...not worthy of your consideration.

    And yes, universities and university people have been fooled by ABAers...especially those who cant/wont see (none so blind) relevancies to ABA science (pot) and the science used to discredit FC (kettle)...read ms dawsons complete NOT cherry picked, article and a quote from LBRB FC discussion.

    “Worst of all are behavioral psychologists and charlatan psychiatrists. The former apply all manner of behavior modification systems to people with innate neurological anomalies without a hope of benefit to anyone (except their own earnings).” ‘[a real scientist, a PhD physicist]

    re: "No, the issue is not being at a university, but actually thinking like someone who is..."

    like you I suppose...
    re:" yes, universities and university people have been fooled before"
    except for you
    such egotistical, a-hole, arrogance...

    vice doing harm...why not research the innate ability vice proclaiming it doesn’t exist...ie, calling the amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials FC tricks...believed by university simpletons...those not as smart as todd, etals.

    todd does much harm promoting ABA's lucrative lively hood...$40,000/yr and raising...FC is almost free.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    No, Dr. Todd does not do "much harm" and FC is anything but "almost free."  Ask the Wendrows if it was almost free. 
    I'd appreciate civility here. Coherence would also be nice.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    15. To my great surprise, nearly 4 days after I posted my last comment and over 3 days after Stanley Seigler and H.M. James posted comments, several hours ago Professor James Todd posted a comment in reply to all 3. Professor Todd's comment prints out to about 5 pages of small print and about the first half is in reply to me. As I start to type this new comment, it is not yet 6:00 a.m. where I live (being 7 hours ahead of EST and 10 hours ahead of PST) and I was sound asleep when Professor Todd posted his new comment, which I have not yet read. This blog only sends a notice of a new comment while some other blogs email the entire comment so I have been forwarding an email of my comments directly to Professor Todd. When I did so nearly 4 days ago, I added to the private email:

    "...other members of FCworld (not meaning Stanley Seigler) are in a better position to reply to you, but I doubt they will do so publicly.

    I plan to comment further before Monday, but I do not know how much of a substantive comment I will make."

    I am glad that I got delayed in my plan to comment further and I hope to make substantive comments in reply to Professor Todd with a goal of 3 days from now. However, at this time, over 20 years since Professor Douglas Biklen published his first study about Facilitated Communication and "considering the many lives at stake" I think it is appropriate to carefully consider our statements in the matter of FC.

    16. On Monday, January 30, 2011, I read for the first time a 14 page (numbered 617-630) article published in 1993 that I would like to quote from page number 628 at this time:

    "As a scientist, one can take some comfort in the fact that the majority opinion, and a show of hands, does not determine truth. Bacon (1905) expressed this view as early as 1620: "If the multitude assent and applaud, men ought immediately to examine themselves as to what blunder or fault they may have committed" (p. 101). Although such statements may provide comfort for the scientist, erroneous and derogatory statements about treatment research cause delay in dissemination. Such delays have been of great concern to the practitioner, considering the many lives at stake."

    The previous preceding paragraph was:

    "There will also be personal attacks, particularly after the publication of unexpected findings, such as those reported in the early intervention study (Lovaas, 1987). The pronouncements of two professionals, both senior officials in ASA (an organization I helped start) illustrates such behavior. One circulated letters and pronounced in meetings with large groups of parents and colleagues that I could not identify what was fraud. The other, a colleague at UCLA, described the results as "totally not true" and expressed regrets that "that stuff comes out under the label of UCLA." "

    The "APA style" reference to this article is:

    Lovaas O.I. (1993) The development of a treatment-research project for developmentally disabled and autistic children. Journal of Applied and Behavior Analysis, 1993, 26, 617-630. Number 4 (Winter 1993).

    The pdf version is now available for free at:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1297900/pdf/jaba00014-0210.pdf

    "Lovaas, 1987" is:

    Lovaas, 0. I. (1987). Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9.

    17. Let me end this comment with the question - was "Lovaas, 1987" a "methodologically sound study showing that" ABA has worked?

    Arthur Golden

    re: Ask the Wendrows if it was almost free...
    FREE comparfed to what ABAers charge...
    as mentioned the wendrows were victims of our justice system...your, todd, etals quoting this miscarrage keep many on the spectrum from expressing themselves...denying this right IS DOING MUCH HARM...
    those on the spectrum would appreciate their right to communicate by what ever means they choose...ie, their civil rights...
    Coherence is always helpful...your definition, examples, re this topic would be appreciated and helpful...also help, where is the lack of coherence in my comments...my only horse in this race is called "what's best for those on the spectrum"
    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    If your intent was what was best for those who have no voice, it would be to make sure no one co-opted their voices. The parents in this court case weren't the only victims; the daughter and son were absolutely victims. Imagine this young woman having someone facilitate her and have her accuse her father of despicable acts.
    The harm being done is by FC proponents, by Biklen and his university, and by all the other flim flam artists out there conning desperate parents. And yes, sometimes those cons are saying they're doing ABA. Doesn't mean they are, though. Buyer beware.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    FYI: tho i know FC works...my main heart burn is that ABAers for no apparent reason, other than "venal pecuniary" motives (todd for greed) waste time on an anti-FC crusade vice researching the intelligence of autism...ie;

    the innate ability to learn without a formal education...which is akin to mozart writing symphonies at four (some young age).

    [kim w say] If your intent, etc...

    there is no IF...my intent, unlike the toddetals (mainly ABA behaviorists) who put down FC to protect their lively hood, is: " what is best for my daughter and all on the spectrum."

    sad you have joined the toddetal ranks and are in a position to misinform young minds...blaming FC for the stupid mistakes of the criminal justice system...

    suggest you read (reread, maybe) ms dawson paper (see above) to determine who the real con artists are...

    BTW i am in full agreement with todd re publish or perish idiots in ivory towers...ie, " a doctorate does not always [seldom, maybe] mean one is either sensible or knowledgeable about anything."...and;

    also agree with you, "caveat emptor"

    stanley seigler

    18. In Stanley Seigler's first comment to this blog, he mentions:

    FC ... was discussed ad nauseam on LBRB blog: *Facilitated Communication...where does a neurodiverse skeptic stand?*
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co..uk/2009/10/facilitated-communication-wher...

    Was it really "ad nauseam"? - there were "only" 269 comments and only 20 were from me - but they were posted in 2 parts over 6 months apart in October 2009 and May 2010.

    Anyway, My first comment to that blog entry about 16 months ago was in direct response to a comment from Professor James Todd and includes a question to Professor Todd that he never answered then and which I really would like a reply to:

    Arthur Golden
    October 8th, 2009
    02:36:54
    Professor James Todd wrote:

    “What should be believed is that people who might otherwise learn to speak for themselves and live independently are being led around by others not getting the help they could use. They are not even accorded the simple dignity of being accepted for who they really are, even if that is being an individual who might never communicate as we are doing here or respond to the world in typical ways.”

    I have never seen any verifiable evidence of the existence of these “people who might otherwise learn to speak for themselves and live independently.” The vast majority of people that were possible candidates for the use of Facilitated Communication over the past 15 years have instead been provided ABA programs designed by behaviorists such as Professor James Todd. While it is true that my then 22 year-old son could not speak then and cannot speak now, I am unaware of any nonverbal adults who achieved speech through ABA even after 15 years. So, could Professor Todd please provide me such verifiable information, with contact information so I can arrange such services for my own now 37 year-old son?

    19. There are other comments from the LBRB blog that I believe are relevant to post to this blog because they deal with exactly the same issues being raised now.

    20. While I have now read the latest comment to this blog from Professor Todd, I am not ready to reply. However, I do note that Professor Todd does clarify that by "methodologically sound studies" he more explicitly means "methodologically sound experimental investigations." So I wish to revise my question in my point 17. in my last comment to:

    Let me end this comment with the question - was "Lovaas, 1987" a "methodologically sound experimental investigation" "showing that" ABA has worked?

    Arthur Golden

    All:

    I have to keep it short due to the approaching snow storm. Here's all I can do in the minutes available to me.

    To Arthur, thank you once again for your comments, which I will try to address in brief, as I think there may only be about four or five people reading this blog entry at this point. Besides, the topic is shifting from what it was: the use of a widely discredited technique in the courts, and the miscarriage of justice that resulted.

    I have spoken to some FC people who, while they strongly disagree with me in their view that FC sometimes works with some people, nevertheless do not consider FC to be reliable enough to be good evidence in criminal justice proceedings. Lie detectors and other methods that are not allowed in courts are not perfectly unreliable. They are simply not reliable enough to use in an fair and just legal system that values the certainty when it brings the massive power of the state upon individuals charged with crimes.

    Consider this: At about the same time as our case, an audit of a forensics laboratory in Detroit discovered a 10% error rate--that's, of course, still 90% correct. Nevertheless, even 90% correct was not good enough, particularly when you don't know which 90% is correct. The lab was shut down, and the relevant cases reexamined. The very best experiments on FC, if we assume for argument that they show real FC, point to error rates in the 90% range. One element of the Daubert Standard is the error rate of the method. On that basis alone, FC would not last long in a Daubert hearing. Consider this as well: The special hearing both Howard Shane and I testified in, which also contained the two failed message-passing tests, functioned like a Daubert hearing. Yet, faced with all the kind of evidence that would be appropriate and relevant to a Daubert type analysis, the judge nevertheless ignored the standards, even apparently as informal guides, and ruled that FC was "interpretation." Why would he rule as such, knowing that there have been Daubert and Frye analyses of FC before? He had to know that FC wouldn't last five minutes in a Daubert hearing. (See * below on Daubert.)

    Arthur asks about Lovaas 1987, which is off topic, but I will indulge, then stop because it's probably time to stop. Lovaas's original study contained a fair number of methodological shortcomings characteristic of lots of clinical work of its type, particularly in getting subjects randomly assigned to conditions. We are told that "random assignment" is the "gold standard." Indeed. But silver is pretty good if you can get it, and bronze is not without its value either. Lovaas is bronze, or perhaps copper--which isn't gold, but also not something you casually toss out.

    The critical issue in the analysis of such a study as Lovaas (1987), with its evident shortcomings, is summarized in this question: Are the shortcomings such that they have a reasonable probability of themselves producing the results we see, undermining our confidence that the experimental procedures are actually responsible for those results? An example. The experimental literature shows that gender of the rats in a schedule of reinforcement study is unlikely to make any difference in the overall performance. Thus, a gender bias in subject selection in a schedules study is almost always ignorable. If you are doing a general activity study in running wheels, of the type that Curt Richter or James Slonaker might have done, research shows that gender might make a significant difference, especially if rate of running over just a few days is a critical dependent variable. Thus, care in assignment would be called for, and biases in assignment carefully examined if they did occur. You will note that in my critique of the FC studies, the errors made are exactly those that have been shown to or would be expected to produce spurious or uninterpretable results. The essentially difference between them and the analyses that fail to show FC is that those methodological holes have been plugged or procedures are used to test for the operation of the confound.

    The Lovaas study has engendered a growing mythology which is becoming increasingly divorced from what was actually said in the study. We have critics coming loose from their empirical moorings, upping the ante on each go-round to the point we hear word like "fraud" being used. It might be accurate to say that Wakefield's a fraud; that Burt was a fraud; that Geller's a fraud. Lovaas, his students, and colleagues, frauds? It's time to step back from the brink. Why are we seeing this escalation? Because no one can get listened to in this arena with more realistic assessments such as, "Lovaas's conclusions don't seem unreasonable despite the shortcomings and conditions he operated under. Even so, we need to know more. Let's see if we can replicate them with tighter methodology."

    And the better studies are being done--even though they are costly and difficult to do making them relatively rare. The findings are that when people do essentially what Lovaas did, devoting comparable amounts of time and operating with the same level of precision of implementation he did, they get comparable results. Sallows and Graupner (1995; http://tinyurl.com/6kxb45q) is one such example, but there are others. Less intensive procedures used with more severely affected individuals (e.g., Smith, Groen & Wynn, 2000), result in smaller gains. But, here we get silly rhetoric. Smith et al. did a systematic replication of Lovaas, but with differences such as diminishing treatment intensity across time and subjects with measured IQs about a standard deviation below those in the Lovaas study. Because they got seemingly weaker results, and could not report significant gains in social skills acquisition, we hear complete nonsense about how Smith et al. supposedly "failed to replicate" Lovaas's results, when, in fact, they got exactly what their reduced procedures should have produced if what Lovaas reported was accurate. Back to the point. It's generally not one big study, but the convergence of evidence from many. And here, the convergence on ABA procedures--whether focally applied to a specific issue or in larger packages--points in the same positive direction. But, even with things looking pretty good, more evidence is needed to refine the procedures, and to learn how to adjust those procedures to give the maximum benefit given highly variable initial presentations.

    We would expect a reasonable degree of success using thoughtfully and carefully designed contingency management techniques to establish missing or incompletely developed functional behavior in people with autism. Intensive and broadly focused ABA programs were not just cut from whole cloth--as some critics seem to imagine them to have been. They were built from individual procedures with origins and confirmation in the behavior laboratory over the last century--which were then tested for effectiveness in people for socially important behavior issues in applied laboratories over the last 60 years or so, then finally assessed for effectiveness in practice over the last half-century. The question then becomes whether the combination of procedures, such as we might find Lovaas is doing with DTT or the Koegels doing with PRT, produces the broadly focused positive outcomes we desire. In the most general terms, we are often trying to answer the question: "Can the child who, by any reasonable standard would have never have gone to school or functioned independently, now go to school and benefit from it in a manner similar to peers who did not have a developmental disability?" Short of that, we would ask: "How close can we get to our ideal goal, and barring even getting close, what can we do to help the person learn to be as independent and self-reliant as possible?" I am not as worried about the evidence for the effectiveness of contingency-management-based intensive therapies directly addressing pre-academic and social skills, for which we have a strong empirical foundation and pretty good evidence. I am more worried about the variants, such as "verbal behavior analysis" and some other things, which, given their empirical foundations, should work, but remain substantially unexamined as integrated behavioral treatment technologies. Here's the deal: Will we get better general outcomes (1) teaching a broad combination of general basic skills of the kind children will need in school, (2) focusing on a smaller set of pivotal skills that are common to many general activities, assuming the more advanced behaviors will arise naturally given the foundation, or (3) will establishing a strong verbal repertoire earlier leverage the social environment to teach the other basic skills in the manner that children without autism learn them. There are reasons to believe that all might work. But, we're also talking about people with serious behavioral issues that sometimes cause our predictions about their behavior to go awry.

    This should be enough, except to say that anyone who thinks "innate neurological anomalies" are unremediable frankly knows less than nothing of the relevant issues, needs to embark on an education both in content (and, dare I say, manners). Perhaps those who believe such nonsense need to write a scathing letter to Dale Ulrich at the University of Michigan, not a behavior analyst, who uses sophisticated exercise-based techniques to help children with Down Syndrome, whose motor development is typically delayed due their condition, walk much earlier than they would ordinarily. I dunno. Perhaps we should believe Stanley, and when confronted with someone whose brain is damaged in some identifiable way and just tell them: "Stanley's quoted some Ph.D. physicist who says you're beyond all help; and you know how good those physicists are with neurology."

    Jim (knows no one is getting rich off $40,000/year ABA, which is about $30/hour, and with expenses, rent, and insurance, only really leaves about $10/hour to pay staff) Todd

    *There are many legal elements to the Daubert guidelines for admitting scientific expert testimony. Among them are five factors relevant to the assessment of the method:

    (1) Is the method be inherently falsifiable? FC theory and recommended practice, arguably, makes FC non-falsifiable.
    (2) Has it the general acceptance of the relevant scientific community? FC, no, despite some high profile advocates.
    (3) Has the method been examined in the published peer-reviewed literature? FC certainly hasn't escaped notice both ways, with no good experimental in favor, and mostly good studies against.
    (4) Are there recognized standards and controls on its operation? It is arguable whether the self-produced "FC Training Standards" are recognized standards in the same way one might standardize a chemical assay.
    (5) What is the known or predicted error rate? FC--very high 90% or greater, if it is accepted as valid at all.

    [Arthur say] Let me end this comment with the question - was Lovaas, 1987 a "methodologically sound experimental investigation" "showing that" ABA has worked?

    methodologically sound experimental investigation??…you should read/reread dawson’s paper for a well rounded opine.

    of course todd says dawson “mischaracterizing entire disciplines” (ie, criticizes ABA)...and cherry picks...unlike him who has told the same one story for years...

    A clue from dawson re some ABAers: “They found that those applying severe aversives were happiest and reported less job-related stress and greater personal accomplishment. In fact, the longer they had been at it, the more personally accomplished they reported being.”

    This (happy ABAers) but one accomplishment of 120 years of basic and applied research…another: at ABA mecca, UCLA, my daughter learned to button at 3-4...at 45 she cant button.

    Just wondering how many ABAers after collecting their $40,000 plus ever see their client again…my daughters support staff (dear friends) who FC with her have been with her 10-13 years...there is a bond facilitated by FC. And where ABA did nothing to reduce off wall behavior...FC did.

    stanley seigler

    re: Jim (knows no one is getting rich off $40,000/year ABA, which is about $30/hour, and with expenses, rent, and insurance, only really leaves about $10/hour to pay staff) Todd

    todd knows WHAT:
    1. knows JRC’s israel, the ultimate behaviorist, makes around $400,000 per (see MJ article)...no “venal pecuniary motives” here...
    2. knows israel’s wife (runs JRC’s sister program, $10M per tobinworld in CA) works for $10/hr...and;
    3.knows owner/directors of ABA programs make...$10/hr after they pay staff poverty wages staff? and knows ABA consultants make $10/hr?...I was never charged $10/hr by ABA consultants.
    4. knows in many cases (well my daughter’s)...her friends (support staff) are paid nothing for their FC relationship with her...it's just part of their daily routine.
    wonder if todd knows he can buy lake front propety in death valley or a bridge

    for ABA behaviorists who only make $10-$12 per hr (per todd) to maintain these rates (or maintain a lucrative livelihood) it would behoove them to incorporate a form of FC into their programs...the behaviorists with open minds and vision have...

    [todd say] anyone who thinks "innate neurological anomalies" are unremediable frankly knows less than nothing of the relevant issues, needs to embark on an education both in content (and, dare I say, manners).

    todd either has a problem staying on point...or is purposely clouding the issue...no one said or alluded anything was irremediable...

    the statement of a well respected physicist (worked with nobel prize winner Schawlow, who FCed with his son, on laser developments) was: “Worst of all are behavioral psychologists and charlatan psychiatrists. The former apply all manner of behavior modification systems to people with innate neurological anomalies without a hope of benefit to anyone (except their own earnings).”

    Perhaps todd sees “unremediable” in his statement...I do NOT...he basically said there are greedy, clueless, behavioral psychologists...

    FC helps “innate neurological anomalies” as it did with his twin sons, my daughter and some 30 of their peers.

    stanley seigler

    21. At this point, first of all I wish to publicly express my great appreciation to Professor James Todd for all the information he has provided in this blog, including about Lovaas 1987 even though he sees that question as off topic. I see that question as so obviously on topic that I was taken by surprise by the position of Professor Todd and I still need to figure out how to explain it.

    22. Meanwhile, I would like to post some statements that I wrote elsewhere that I believe are relevant here.

    a. FCworld message #7531 sent March 5, 2008:

    As I feared, the defense is taking the "easy" approach of discrediting FC, instead of looking into the possibility the FC is valid but for other reasons the testimony is unreliable. When I first found out [December 18, 2007], I sent a private email to the defense attorney offering to help develop the approach that "FC is valid but for other reasons the testimony is unreliable" but my offer was ignored.

    LBRB comments (in addition to LBRB comment already posted in my comment to this blog about 14 hours ago at point numbered 18):

    b. October 9th, 2009

    In May 1994, using his type of Facilitated Communication, my then 22 year-old son Benjamin Ethan (“Ben”) made a major life decision. At his request, Ben and I went to Dr. Howard Shane on May 3, 1994 to try to scientifically validate his personal FC. Dr. Howard Shane used his usual procedures and could not validate Ben’s FC, as documented in a 5 page report we received from him several weeks later. Now over 15 years later, FC has still not been scientifically validated.
    However, Ben and I decided to proceed to try to implement his major life decision, which I feel was very successful for Ben. Should we have waited until FC was scientifically validated? If we did, we would still be waiting. I know this report is not a peer-reviewed article of a scientific experiment and is only an “anecdote.” But this anecdote is a real human being with a divine soul whose life is not going to sacrificed on the altar of the “Idolatry of Science” (using the expression which originated with Ben – I often follow the lead of this person who does not have an academic high school diploma even though I have a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School...).

    c. October 13th, 2009

    ...I now think I understand that Dr. Howard Shane was not really testing FC but at least for Ben was testing his autism. I am not competent to write up a peer-reviewed article to support my thinking and I wish someone else would do so. BTW, Dr. Howard Shane, speech pathologist PhD, still at Children’s Medical Center in Boston after 32 years, had as the very first child he evaluated there then 5 year-old Benjamin Ethan.

    d. October 14th, 2009

    Getting back to whether facilitators are deluded, it is possible that some are because some people in general are deluded, irrespective of whether they are faciliators or not. Am I deluded? I realize that if a person is deluded, then that person does not realize it. Close friends do a person a great favor to point out possible delusions because delusions can be dangerous but also delusions can be successfully treated by medication. However, I at least and although not explictly stated, I think almost all facilitators are not deluded, just as almost all people in general are not deluded, because I realize that I am not absolutely certain that the communication I attribute to my son Ben as an FCuser is actually coming from Ben. I realize that it may be coming from the facilitator, who is I. Although Ben’s independent language has improved over the decades, it is not at the level to confirm his Facilitated Communication....

    When my son Ben was first evaluated by speech pathologist Dr. Howard Shane 32 years ago at age 5-1/2, Ben at least appeared to be “someone who is otherwise 100% or nearly 100% incapable of independent language-based communication (through a keyboard or any other means.)” But even in those Dark Ages, he received an intensive education under IDEA and FAPE for the next 17 years in excellent school programs. Although Ben never acquired speech, he did acquire “independent language-based communication.” His method of independent communication is very clear and understandable gestures. I think that almost all persons who are “nonverbal” do acquire independent communication and I doubt that too many persons as you describe actually exist. Human beings, with very rare exceptions, are not actually “noncommunicative” (the term more commonly used, such as by skeptic neurologist Dr. Steven Novella a couple years ago about a 14 year-old girl from Michigan where the facilitator testified the girl made charges of sexual abuse against her father through FC and the father was jailed for over 80 days until the FC was discredited by the expert testimony of Professor James Todd and Dr. Howard Shane). If a professional claims to test that a person as “noncommunicative” I think it is more likely the professional is testing that the person is actually autistic, which happened when a psychiatrist (called the leading expert on autism in Israel) observed my son Ben for the first time last week. This psychiatrist really seems to be an expert in autism because he realized that my son being completely “noncommunicative” in his presence was a symptom of Ben’s autism and not a valid test of his communication skills, which he accepted as possibly existing based on written reports from others.

    FC has vastly improved the quality of life for my own son Ben for over 15 years and I wish that other potential FC users were given such opportunities. I know many other autistics who are similar to my own son Ben who were not given such opportunities and all of them have a really miserable quality of life. I am still waiting for the response of Professor James Todd of his claim of other such persons who are now speaking and living independently. Joseph – can you provide me such verifiable information? I realize that FC has not been scientifically validated 20 years after Professor Douglas Biklen brought it to the USA, but I am so glad that he publicized FC, starting with the August 1990 Harvard Education Review, and I am so thankful to the late Professor Gunnar Dybwad for sending my a photocopy of that article, in those primitive days before the internet.

    e. October 15th, 2009

    Joseph writes: “Suppose these cases represent 1 of every 10,000 persons who’ve ever tried FC.” Even for independent typists, I think the rate is much better than 1 of every 10,000. But I feel the real success is a significant improvement in the quality of life for the FC user, such as the 44 year-old daughter of Stanley Seigler or my own son 37 year-old Ben. For “Jay Nolan” the agency providing services for the daughter of Stanley Seigler and several dozen others with similar needs, it is my understanding that there is real success for nearly everyone of them. For “Pisgat Yehuda” the program my son helped create 15 years ago based on the use of FC, there is real success for nearly everyone of the dozen persons involved. I think this real success for so many people who had the opportunity to try FC does prove something.

    Now let’s discuss these anti-FC scientific experiments designed primarily by behaviorists. When it comes to science by behaviorists done on autistics, Ms. Michelle Dawson has amply shown the world what that is worth. I publicly laud such efforts by Ms. Michelle Dawson Unfortunately, my extensive research of Ms. Michelle Dawson, starting nearly 2 years ago when I became aware of her position on FC, has uncovered that she has a few extremely strong biases, one of which is against FC. Then the high standards for research that she preaches is not practiced by her when it comes to being critical of the anti-FC research, if she ever bothered to actually read it, which she refuses to reveal despite the very polite inquiries of “ChrisB” on her own discussion board. She may be right about the quality of the research by the FC promoters, but it looks to me like the research is a problem on both sides and I will make my decision based on real life experiences of real persons, now over 10, 15 and 20 years or more.

    f. May 4th, 2010

    Jason S. previously wrote:
    “Dr. James Todd already referenced to the the most important meta-analysis studies. I don’t think there is online public access to Gina Green’s paper, but you can look up Mostert’s easily enough:

    http://kslinker.com/facilitate.....e-1995.pdf

    Let’s look at Mostert’s 2001 article, which I actually have in my hands. It cites 29 English language peer-reviewed articles on FC published between 1994 to 1998 (a five year period). Do you know how many refute FC - do you think it is 27, 26 or 25? The answer is 19. The number supportive of FC is 10 – over one-third. While more than one-third is less than the majority, it is a respectful minority opinion, hardly just based on the personal impression of Stanley Seigler.

    Please note it is now 2010, nearly a decade into the Twenty-First Century. Since this blog entry started in October 2009, and Professor James Todd’s original comment about meta-analysis studies, have any new meta-analysis studies been published? If Jason S. was on the ball, he would have discovered that Mostert did a follow-up study, with an online publication date of 13 January 2010, citation Mostert, Mark (2010) “Facilitated Communication and Its Legitimacy—Twenty-First Century Developments”, Exceptionality, 18: 1. 31-41. After paying $30, I actually have this 2010 article in my hands. From the period covered by this updated article of January 1999 to May 2008, Mostert found just 3 English language peer-reviewed articles on FC. Two out of three were supportive of FC - so even though the number is much smaller, it has rversed to two-thirds supportive.

    Most importantly, please note that Mostert excluded peer-reviewed articles not published in English. Guess what – in the past decade numerous (sorry, I cannot read any foreign languages, so I do not know how numerous) peer-reviewed articles supportive of FC have been published in several foreign languages. I am not familiar about the scientific literature supportive of “Using dowsing rods to find water” but I do not think one can find similar results....

    By the way, as I will try to discuss when I have the time (after I sign a lease so my family continues to have a roof over our heads, including my 38 year-old son Ben – nonverbal autistic who chooses to use FC - not just through FC but through his self-initiated completely independent primary means of communication – GESTURING), I have accepted the challenge from Professor James Todd to again scienitifically test my son’s FC - when I plan to challenge the validity of the so-called scientific tests that Jason S. and all other skeptics rely on for claiming that FC has been invalidated. Good science takes time, so please be patient for the results of this planned case study by Professor James Todd.

    g. May 12th, 2010

    ...I believe that blog entries such as LBRB are not the appropriate place for long-term serious discussions and I intend to continue any discussions about FC on my own yahoo!group “autismfc” with some messages also placed on alt.support.autism of usenet to assure a permanent record. I do wish to express my appreciation to Kev Leitch the original writer of this blog entry for providing a forum about FC that did generate much interesting information about the views of skeptics and others.
    Currently, I am busy moving to a new apartment, but I have decided to start a new thread on “autismfc” yahoo!group, where I will discuss my actual recent cooperation with Professor James Todd on arranging good scientific research involving my own son Ben, with the subject and initial paragraph of:

    facilitated communication and autistics – good scientific research

    Whatever I may or may not have done in the past, I am now fully committed to good scientific research about facilitated communication (FC), especially for autistics including my own completely nonverbal son “Ben” (Benjamin Ethan) Golden, born January 30, 1972 in Boston, Massachusetts USA and living in Israel since August 16, 1994.

    Arthur Golden

    [arthur golden] say whatever
    you waste your time discussing science with promotional pseudo scientists
    stanley seigler

    23. While I agree with the comments about Facilitated Communication made by Stanley Seigler, I do wish to publicly note that I do not neccesarily agree with his comments about other matters. Meanwhile, I do have more to offer on studies about Facilitated Communication, but I have not yet finished preparing such comments. I hope to have something to offer soon.

    Arthur Golden

    [Arthur Golden say] I do wish to publicly note that I do not agree with his [seigler] comments about other matters [other than FC].

    SHOCKED, shocked:)...but art is in the majority...still my opine he waste time discussing FC with johnny-one-case, promotional, pseudo, scientists protecting their livelihood.

    [Rebbe Nachman say] To be a person of truth, be swayed neither by approval nor disapproval. Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are.

    i'm working at...apologies for the too often used nachman quote.

    CLARIFICATION of a previous post [stanley seigler 02/01/11, 20:13PM)
    previous post comment: the statement of a well respected physicist (worked with nobel prize winner Schawlow, who FCed with his son, on laser developments) was: [see previous post]
    should read
    the statement of a well respected physicist (worked with nobel prize winner Schawlow on laser developments. BTW Schawlow FCed with his own son art jr.) was:
    schawlow didn't FC with his son on laser developments.

    oh/and guess schawlow was just another of those (universities, etc) todd says are so easily fooled by FC and of whom todd says "a doctorate does not mean one is either sensible or knowledgeable about anything."

    stanley seigler

    In other words, it about making careers and not obtaining the truth...the legal system has absolutely no interest in such a truth...a prosecutor can act without regard for the accuracy of their charges...[Gerhard Adam; 01/25/11; 21:03 PM]

    the legal system should be the focus NOT FC...of course if the legal syatem had done its job there would have been no anti-FC experts...and in general;

    if the system sought the truth anti-FC experts and other expert witnesses (and lawyers) would be out of work...instead they seek to confuse issues and hide the truth...

    the anti-FC crusade has committed many on the spectrum to the silent fortress...a version of bettelheim's "empty fortress"...denied them the right (their inalienable right) to communicate as they choose.

    the legal system has done much damage to those with disabilities/autism...in addition to abusers (murderers, rapists) not being punished...lawyers and experts deny a FAPE (fair appropriate public education) and other services to many.

    stanley seigler

    Gerhard Adam
    the legal system should be the focus NOT FC...of course if the legal syatem had done its job there would have been no anti-FC experts...and in general;
    Well, that's not entirely true now, is it?  If FC is "scientific", then it is entirely possible and plausible that there would be just as many that question its achievements and would be "anti-FC" experts.  The legal system has nothing to do with the status of scientific hypothesis.

    My argument isn't just with the legal system, but also with FC experts that clearly should've recognized the volatility of the information they so casually provided without questioning whether there might be a problem with how it was collected?  The law has an obligation, but so do supposed "experts" that make claims that they insist are credible.

    Personally my view is that any "expert" that isn't prepared to put their career on the line has nothing worth saying in a court of law where it can affect other people's lives.  That may sound restrictive, but, in my view, it's that important.  The court room is NOT the place for experimental data and people's opinions. 

    I would also like to see something like a peer review board that can evaluate whether certain expert testimony should even get into court.  The mere fact that an "expert" can be paid to spin a story in almost any direction is clearly flawed.  If it doesn't pass a peer review, then it should have no legal standing.  Science should NOT be used as a vehicle for planting doubt into the minds of jurors.
    Mundus vult decipi
    [Gerhard Adam say]Well, that's not entirely true now, is it?

    if one is looking for the truth in this specific case, well now yes it is true...if the DA had done his job the case wudda/shudda never been prosecuted...

    [Gerhard Adam say]The legal system has nothing to do with the status of scientific hypothesis.

    Agree but not sure what point has to do with this specific case...this case is about a DA prosecuting a case that NEVER should have been tried.

    [Gerhard Adam say] The court room is NOT the place for experimental data and people's opinions.

    Thus as said the case NEVER should have been tried.

    This case is not the appropriate example from which to generalize...to use (tho used ad nauseam) to call FC snake oil...and deny the right of those on the spectrum to communicate in a manner of their choice.

    stanley seigler

    Gerhard Adam
    ...and deny the right of those on the spectrum to communicate in a manner of their choice.
    Sorry, but that's a statement you can't make unless the scientific hypothesis on which is based is generally accepted, which it appears, it is not.  The point being, that you don't know what the "choice" is, so to presume it, is tantamount to claiming that FC works because FC says it does.
    Mundus vult decipi
    [Gerhard Adam say] Sorry, but that's a statement you can't make unless the scientific hypothesis on which is based is generally accepted, which it appears, it is not. The point being, that you don't know what the "choice" is, so to presume it, is tantamount to claiming that FC works because FC says it does.

    sorry, actually no apologies...i can make that statement...i do know the choice...i have lived with it...

    do you know anyone who FCs...or are you basing your opine on ABA-autism, promotional, science of those who protect their livelihood with the one specific legal case and promotional science.

    only needs to be accepted by one individual...one individual freed from a prison of silence...and there are many more than one...so very sad there are many still in that prison...

    and you have moved the goal post from the specific legal to the general FC...

    since we have moved from the specific to the general suggest you read LBRB FC discussion and ms dawsons paper on the misbehavior of the behaviorist....difficult to add much more here...

    stanley seigler

    24. As I wrote on the LBRB blog 9 months ago, comments to a blog are not a good way to have a long-term discussion, but I do wish to make the following points in direct reply to Professor Todd. There is much more I wish to discuss on these matters, but I plan to do so on the autismfc yahoo!group.

    25. Professor James Todd wrote in comment #10 to this blog on Monday evening EST, January 31, 2011:

    "... I am correct and Arthur is wrong. At least Arthur is wrong if, by "studies," he means "methodological sound experimental investigations," and not "something someone has managed to get into a journal asserting, without good evidence, the validity of FC." Actually, Arthur means the latter. He is repeating standard Syracuse-inspired FC talking points wherein published anecdotes and methodological train wrecks are cited as if they are the kind of high-quality, objective analyses of the validity and reliability of a technique we'd hope to have if we are going to summarily jail people on the basis of evidence arising from that technique. I have already described some of the problems with little apparent effect. What else can I do? Maybe a version of the "Lightning Round" from the old "Password" game show? Let's cite some of the items that FC advocates routinely trot out in support of statements like Arthur's about evidence supporting FC, and see if we can dispatch each of them in a sentence or two.

    ...[Professor Todd then lists 13 studies in no apparent order, with brief comments that are only negative - see below at 32. for list of 13 studies in alphabetical order by author]...

    If Arthur has something more to offer than the "studies" I have listed--which is pretty much what there is--he should do so. However, I have plumbed these depths. I don't anticipate find FC treasures hidden in the abyss beneath all the murk we see at the surface. As for peer-review, if you want to publish something that asserts the validity of FC, there's always nonjudgmental home for it at "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities" under FC-loving editor, Stephen J. Taylor of Syracuse University. This is the wrong approach for a journal. "Nonjudgmental" is great if one is greeting a prodigal son. It is simply the wrong thing to do if one is a peer-reviewer. That job is more like St. Peter's."

    26. If by "methodological sound experimental investigations" Professor Todd means the gold standard he explained in his comment about Lovaas 1987, just as he stated that Lovaas 1987 did not meet this gold standard and according to Ms. Michelle Dawson no ABA studies meet this gold standard, I will concede that studies supporting Facilitated Communication (FC) might not meet this gold standard. But just as Lovaas 1987 and other ABA studies might meet a bronze standard, I think many studies supporting FC might at least meet a bronze standard. Professor Todd's only alternative of "something someone has managed to get into a journal asserting, without good evidence, the validity of FC" which is a "trash standard" is not the only alternative to the gold standard of "methodological sound experimental investigations."

    27. Oh well, at least this comment from Professor Todd shows, without having to do any "methodological sound experimental investigations," that he does not have a telepathic link with me because he has no way of knowing that "Arthur means the latter" as he claims above. After a full week, I am still trying to make sense of most of the above-quoted comment from Professor Todd and I am at a loss of how to respond so I will not attempt to do so for most of it.

    28. However, I will try to comment on the sentence "If Arthur has something more to offer than the "studies" I have listed--which is pretty much what there is--he should do so." Since I am pretty sure that Professor Todd, who publicly lectures behaviorists on ethical behavior, would not consciously apply a double standard, if he tells me me that I "should do so" then he must agree that he "should do so" in responding to my question to him on the LBLB blog of 16 months ago - see my point 15. above. But since he has not yet replied after 16 months, I must assume he recognizes that time is needed for a reply, so I will try my best to reply to him in less than 16 months. At this time, I would like to supply some plain facts about the list of 13 studies Professor Todd listed "which is pretty much what there is." Please note that the latest date of these items is 2004.

    29. I am aware of 2 lists (one from 2005 of 13 items and another from 2010 of 14 items but 13 items up to 2004) that are publicly available at:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/116/1/289.pdf

    http://soeweb.syr.edu/media/documents/2010/7/Research_supporting_authors...

    of "the items that FC advocates routinely trot out in support of statements like Arthur's about evidence supporting FC." Let's compare those lists to the 13 items of Professor Todd (see 32. below). Although all 3 lists have 13 items dated by 2004, the 2005 list only has 7 of the 13 items on the Todd list and the 2010 list has 8 of 13 items and one new one from 2009. Between them the 2 lists from FC advocates do list 12 of the 13 items of the Todd list but also list 12 other items in total. Of the 3 items excluded from the 2010 list that are found on 2005 list and the Todd list, I have documented in private email to other PhD psychologists that I would exclude at least 2 of the 3 items. Those 2 items are Bara et al 2001 and Rubin et al 2001.

    30. Although I would exclude Bara et al 2001, I did find this study intriguing and I spent $41.95 to obtain an electronic copy. Although unlike the FC advocates who prepared the 2005 list, I do not find that this study validates FC, I do wish to quote the following from this study:

    page 225:
    "The experimental hypotheses are tested through a technique called facilitated communication (FC). Our expectation is that this method could reveal a level of pragmatic competence never obtained by previous studies. In fact, FC abolishes the difficulties posited at the attentional level (the experimental tasks are presented through a written text that can be accessed and processed by the children for as long as they need), and those posited at the language production level (the child produces a written response). Furthermore, we believe we have overcome two of the many impairments autistic subjects are faced with: emotional distress and difficulties in establishing interpersonal contacts. In fact, the presence of the facilitator (a familiar figure) has not only given them greater emotional stability to enable them to better concentrate on the task, but also provided us with a means of reaching otherwise mute autistic children."
    pages 226-227:
    "Methods. Participants. Twenty mute male children diagnosed with autism (DSM-IV) participated in the experiment. The ages of the children ranged from 7 to 18 years (mean age: 11 years). In fact, they were selected on the basis of their ability to use FC, which is usually introduced in primary school. In particular, they were able to communicate with their facilitator if touched on the shoulder or the thigh. Indeed, although the facilitator was blind with respect to the aim of the research, we excluded from the experiment children who needed physical support at the wrist to eliminate the possibility that the facilitator vitiated the responses. The children showed good comprehension of written language (mean score in Bada’s test - 43) and good nonverbal reasoning capacities (mean score in Raven’s Coloured Matrices - 31). The control group consisted of children matched to the autistics for sex and chronological age (all males, ranging in age from 7 to 18 years, mean age: 11 years). Moreover, they were matched for written language comprehension (mean score in Bada’s test - 43) and nonverbal reasoning capacities (Raven’s Coloured Matrices: mean score - 31)."

    31. Lastly, in direct response to the statement above of Professor Todd:

    "As for peer-review, if you want to publish something that asserts the validity of FC, there's always nonjudgmental home for it at "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities" under FC-loving editor, Stephen J. Taylor of Syracuse University."

    "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities" is the new politically correct name of the journal previously named "Mental Retardation." First of all, it seems that Stephen J. Taylor is now retired as the editor. Second of all, the plain fact is that the first FC article published in "Mental Retardation" by this "FC-loving editor" was:
    Wheeler, D. L., Jacobson, J. W., Paglieri, R. A., & Schwartz, A. A. (1993). An experimental assessment of facilitated communication. Mental Retardation, 31, 49-60.

    32. 13 studies in comment #10 in alphabetical order by author:

    Bara BG, Bucciarelli M, Colle L. (2001) Communicative abilities in autism: evidence for attentional deficits. Brain Language 2001;77: 216–240

    Broderick, A., and Kasa-Hendrickson, C. (2001). “Say just one word at first”: The emergence of reliable speech in a student labelled with autism. Journal of the association for persons with severe handicaps, 26, pp. 13–24.

    Bundschuh, K. & Basler-Eggen, A. (2000). Abschlussbericht zur Studie, Getutzte Kommunication bei Menschen mit schwern Kommunikationsstorwigen. Munich: Bayerisches Staatsministerium fur Arbeit und Sozialordunung, Familie, Fauen und Gesundheit. [English translation - Facilitated Communication for Persons With Severe Communication Problems]

    Calculator, S. N., & Singer, K. M. (1992). Letter to the editor: Preliminary validation of facilitated communication. Topics in Language Disorders, 12(5), ix-xvi.

    Cardinal D. N., Hanson, D., and Wakeham, J. (1996). An investigation of authorship in facilitated communication. Mental retardation, 34, pp. 231–242.

    Emerson, A., Grayson, A., and Griffiths, A. (2001). Can’t or won’t? Evidence relating to authorship in facilitated communication. International journal of language and communication disorders, 36 (suppl.), pp. 98–103.

    Janzen-Wilde, M.L., Duchan, J.F., and Higginbotham, D.J. (1995). Successful use of facilitated communication with an oral child. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 658-676.

    Niemi, J., and Kärnä-Lin, E. (2002). Grammar and lexicon in facilitated communication: A linguistic authorship analysis of a Finnish case. Mental retardation 40, pp. 347–357.

    Rubin, S., Biklen, D., Kasa-Hendrickson, C., Kluth, P., Cardinal, D. N., and Broderick, A. (2001). Independence, participation, and the meaning of intellectual ability. Disability and society, 16, pp. 425–429.

    Sheehan, C., and Matuozzi, R. (1996). Investigation of the validity of facilitated communication through the disclosure of unknown information. Mental retardation, 34, pp. 94–107.

    Tuzzi, A., Cemin, M., and Castagna, M. (2004). “Moved deeply I am.” Autistic language in texts produced with FC. Journées internationals d’analyse statistique des données textuelles, 7, pp. 1–9.

    Weiss, M., Wagner, S., and Bauman, M. (1996). A validated case study of facilitated communication. Mental retardation, 34, pp. 220–230.

    Zanobini, M., and Scopesi, A. (2001). La comunicazione facilitata in un bambino autistico. Psicologia clinica dello Sviluppo, 5, pp. 395-421

    [arthur say] whatever...

    tho, doubt it changes any anti-FC crusaders' minds... thanks some of the papers you discuss are interesting...eg,

    "...the presence of the facilitator (a familiar figure) has not only given them greater emotional stability to enable them to better concentrate on the task, but also provided us with a means of reaching otherwise mute autistic children."

    of course you know these are the people who have been fooled by FCers, say todd...in any event;

    i am fooled too...as the result of the bonding (emotional stability) between my daughter and her friends (support staff) who FC (no extra pay) with her...could swear (probably my imagination) her off wall behaviors have been reduced substantially...she is a seemingly contented woman now...

    and it was encouraging to read some "publish or perish" crew are researching the intelligence of autism...vice wasting time calling FC snake oil...

    as mentioned in past FC discussions...i wonder why no one mentions the similarity between the initial hard copy from an ancient computer, the goodwins "talking typewriter" (no facilitator) of the mid 60s, and the hard copy of FC and other communication processes today.

    stanley seigler

    Arthur and Gerhard:

    Thank you for your comments. Gerhard first.

    I think I agree with much of what you say, but a clarification might be in order. You say, "Science should NOT be used as a vehicle for planting doubt into the minds of jurors." However, in the US system, the burden of proof in criminal proceedings is on the prosecution. Thus, it is exactly the job of the defense to plant reasonable doubts about the prosecution's case in the minds of the jurors, the judge, or judges--whoever is the "trier of fact" at that stage of the proceedings. Scientific testimony may be one of the elements of a defense, used to undermine the credibility of the prosecution's case against the defendant.

    In the Wendrow case, for instance, the prosecutor offered as evidence an article (Vazquez, 1994) that supposedly showed that a girl similar to one in our case communicating reliably with FC. The girl had supposedly gotten 9 of 10 answers correct in a blind condition using facilitation. As expert, I testified that the example did not, in fact, demonstrate successful FC by informing the court that the girl described in the article could actually speak, and had, in the third of three experiments, "blurted out" the answers prior to the facilitation:

    "And much to our surprise, she immediately blurted out the correct names of many of the items….it was not so clear that she, and not the facilitator who could hear the names, did the typing."

    In other words, the prosecution made a claim that was false and misleading, requiring a rebuttal by an expert who knew the details of the item. The idea was precisely to cast doubt in the judge's mind not just about the strength of the prosecution's case, but also about the prosector's general lack of proficiency with scientific literature she cited. The same might be said about the prosecution's version of the standard message-passing protocol using headphones through which the questions to be asked the girl could be heard. Howard Shane, as an expert with experience with exactly the same kind of headphones to prosecution proposed using, could speak to the fact that the headphones would not sufficiently mask the questions, rendering the test entirely fallacious. Again, this raised doubts about the validity and integrity of the prosecution's case against the parents.

    Even so, despite the clarification, I thank you again for your thoughtful comments.

    Now Arthur.

    I feel your pain. You should not have had to pay nearly $42 for a copy of Bara et al.'s article. My university subscribes to these journals--at an elevated cost, thousands per year in some cases--so I don't have to pay to see the articles. But the mercenary pricing many of these publishers apply to members of the general public is a gross disservice to the advancement of knowledge. It effectively prevents the dissemination of original scientific ideas beyond the walls of universities and colleges. It is laudable, therefore, that some publishers make back issues of their journals available for free to the public, meaning that if you want to read articles from "The Behavior Analyst" or the "Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis," just to name two, you can get them for free on PubMed or similar outlets.

    The consequences of the restrictive pricing policies are many, and generally not good. One is that you and I can't have a level playing field for discussion. But, professionally, across all the disciplines, we have a situation wherein people like me educate and certify up-to-date but relatively inexperienced practitioners and scientists, having taught them to base what they do on the best they can find in the journals. Then, once they get their degrees, and they are no longer students, our institutions quickly cut off their access to the journals. They often don't even get access to the databases that are used for advanced searches for journal contents. Generally, this is part of the licensing agreement for subscribing to the journals. The libraries can usually let you in the door to see them. But they can't give unrestricted access to the online versions. Of course, the journals need money to operate. However, it is also the case that because they are so often subscribed to by public institutions, they are also government subsidized, which means paid for by taxes. Thus, it would not be out of bounds to expect the publishers to return the favor of the subsidy by granting limited access to the general public for reasonable costs--perhaps a few dollars per article to cover costs and protect their copyright's integrity. (By the way, the authors of the articles almost never get a cut of that money.)

    As for Stephen J. Taylor, he may be stepping aside, but he was the editor on the articles I listed from "Mental Retardation" and its successor, "Intellectual and Development Disabilities." I used the word "nonjudgemental" to describe that journal on purpose. Scientists would have recognized it as a pointed criticism.

    The editor of a journal is obligated to be judgmental, a careful and rational selector and filterer of content for quality and usefulness, an initial stage before items submitted even get to the reviewers--who are themselves selected by the editor for their ability to be similarly judgmental. The editor knows that the amount of space in archival journals is limited, and that there is an imprimatur, a stamp of quality, given items in refereed journals simply because they are in a refereed journal. In our courts, in a Daubert analysis, the evidence being "peer reviewed" is an important consideration. So much content of such low quality is now getting into some ostensibly peer-reviewed journals that we can no longer always assume that what we read in those journals has been reasonably vetted for conceptual and empirical quality. Thus, when something like Sheehan and Matuozzi (1996) is advanced as evidence for FC merely because it appeared in the "peer-reviewed" journal "Mental Retardation," someone then has to explain that Sheehan and Matuozzi is possessed of so many basic and avoidable faults that it cannot be taken as proof of anything except perhaps the high tolerance of the editor of "Mental Retardation" for extremely low quality work. Then, because the journal's reputation is debauched by the actions of editor unbiased against even methodological cautionary tales, we must now explain why Wheeler et al. is a good study methodologically speaking. (Because it both protected against and tested for facilitator influence in a context in which apparently valid FC could be produced if it existed--among other things.)

    Regarding the quality of these pro-FC items, I cannot agree that any pro-FC articles published to date that I have seen are even, as Arthur hopefully suggests, "bronze," on our "gold, silver, bronze" standard scale. The problem is that the pro-FC studies, which I think I have covered pretty comprehensively describing those typically listed by the FC people themselves, all fail to apply the very controls and procedures that would make them even provisionally credible. If they contain an experimental analysis at all, meaning they are not just extended anecdotes, they almost all omit a test for facilitator control, and all have poor protections against what is sometimes called "stimulus leakage." They are just badly done. Cardinal et al. (1996), for instance. Did they really need so many people who knew the answers in the experimental room? Would it have really been so hard to embed an unobtrusive test of facilitator control somewhere in the 3870 trials they ran? Did they have to give a list of the words to be used in the test sessions to the facilitators? Why would Andrea Basler-Eggen, who is obviously a smart person, fail to understand that if she both created the stimuli and acted as the facilitator, she could easily be the source of the answers? I could go on and on; you know I could. But I won't--except to say that if we were to extend our metallic metaphor to describe these pro-FC items, we might designate them as being either iron pyrite, or, to invoke a so-called "factitious metal" used by jewelers in the 17th and 18th centuries, call them "Pinchbeck," which is not a good thing. I would not disagree that there might be some lower quality anti-FC articles as well. The problem there is that the articles questioning FC are generally done in response to various claims being made about FC. The authors of those tend to automatically avoid the mistakes because they are usually analyzing the consequences of making the mistakes.

    It is now time to stop, as I think I have a meeting. Thanks again to Arthur for his thoughtful analysis, and his serious efforts to closely study the relevant literature. Again, it should not be so expensive. And, thanks to Gerhard Adam for his thoughts on the legal issues as well.

    Jim

    Gerhard Adam
    Scientific testimony may be one of the elements of a defense, used to undermine the credibility of the prosecution's case against the defendant.
    I agree with you, but just to clarify my position a bit more.  When I made the comment about science not being used to plant doubt, I meant that to also include doubt about an individual's innocence.  In other words, the prosecution has no business bringing in science or "evidence" that has not passed peer review.  A prosecutor's job is to prosecute a case based on its legal merits and not its scientific ones. 

    I'm not disputing the need to have an expert rebuttal witness, as in this case.  I only wish that the legal system had a better way of "vetting" what was considered scientific mainstream before it was presented to a jury, precisely to avoid runaway prosecutors that latch on to anything to make their case.
    Mundus vult decipi
    [todd say] whatever...
    arthur, told you, you were wasting your time...same old, same old, from todd...summarizing: all FCers providing a means of expression to many on the spectrum are fools and their degrees don’t mean anything...ie;
    todd say re degrees supporting FC: "a doctorate does not mean one is either sensible or knowledgeable about anything."..."bedoctored fools and highly educated knaves"...todd-etals are the chosen ones who have meaningful degrees

    OTOH if art’s purpose is education of the peanut gallery, time not wasted...THANKS. and it did get you a pat on the head from todd.

    BTW agree with todd: “Scientific testimony may be one of the elements of a defense”...not only may be, should be where appropriate...not sure of the point here, tho.

    In this specific case, DA should have called on experts (maybe todd) before charging.

    [gerhard say] A prosecutor's job is to prosecute a case based on its legal merits and not its scientific ones...I only wish that the legal system had a better way of "vetting"...
    the DA neither based case on legal nor science...it was based on stupidly and all the other negative observations by gerhard of the legal system.

    Seems gerhard confirms, relating to this case, the focus should be on the legal system not FC...it's not that they don't have appropriate vetting...it's as gerhard say: "the legal system has absolutely no interest in such a truth."
    [art as a lawyer, any comment re USA legal system?]

    demonizing FC lets the legal system off the hook...in addition to harm done non verbals on the spectrum...there are many cases where parents/others are falsely accused that have nothing to do with FC.

    Sadly some have seen this case as a means to promote/protect their livelihood...sometimes a very lucrative one...

    ”first do no harm” should be the oath of all disciplines...especially those dealing with the lives of our special needs children, adult sons/daughters and friends.

    back to FC:
    [gerhard say]...is tantamount to claiming that FC works because FC says it does.
    actually because: 1) there are “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...todd acknowledges (as in takes note of) this...and 2) personal experience.

    stanley seigler

    Gerhard:

    Thank you for the clarification.

    The point you make about vetting scientific testimony is a good one. That the Daubert (and Frye) standards do not always work as they are supposed to is an issue of considerable discussion in legal circles. The standards are intended to give judges a reasonably clear set of guidelines to apply to scientific evidence that removes them as much as possible from the fundamental details of the phenomenon. The problem is that many scientific issues are much less clear-cut than the situation with FC. As much as the FC advocates grouse about it, the fact remains that the scientific foundation simply and obviously does not exist for the admissibility of evidence produced by FC under any reasonable application of Daubert (or Frye). But the situation with FC as evidence is simple (in a technical sense, at least) relative to what a judge might face in a lawsuit over whether a certain spread-spectrum modulation system violates a patent or when faced with the admissibility of DNA evidence derived from a brand-new technique that had not yet been seen in the courts. The legal world is replete with cases in which judges have gotten it wrong, or just made inexplicable decisions, because they were overwhelmed with facts of such complexity that they should not be expected to understand them.

    In any case, I am pleased that at this point we see that pretty much everyone in the discussion has found a way to agree with at least one or two things everyone else has said--including Stanley, whose provisional recommendation of me for preliminary information about FC in a sticky legal case is truly appreciated, and who did have some points to make (although not about me or my students getting rich or applying behavioral techniques in the way Matt does.) For an FC discussion, this is a quite remarkable outcome that speaks to the possibility of additional thoughtful analyses of these issues.

    Thank you and everyone else for their contributions.

    Jim

    [jim say] As much as the FC advocates grouse about it... Thank you [gerhard] and everyone else for their contributions

    not sure many pro-FCers grouse about using FC in the courts (it’s not ready for prime time)...no grousers that I know do...will ask for an opine from FCworld list.

    and thank you for your contributions...know you have better use for your time than discussing FC with a “petulant 3rd grader”.

    Look forward to the day when FC, etal, whatever is ready for prime time...the day when non verbals are free from their silent prison...opine: more detailed research into the innate ability to communicate/learn without a formal education many/most/all on the spectrum have...and a combination of ABA, etal, will lead to that day.

    The ability is there. The 60s talking type writer confirmed this. (not sure the link will work, it’s an old NYT article)
    http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/AF1VTYQTEQz4t0eisW2KR7nLWlvzqjRl706W3S42N5D...

    opine: the "petulant 3rd grader" and "toad-etal" discussions are needed to insure the facts/truth are/is found.
    "Truth is a shining goddess, always veiled, always distant, never wholly approachable, but worthy of all the devotion of which the human spirit is capable" (Bertrand Russell)

    stanley seigler

    I am a typist and I have been typing for l9 years. Over the years I have typed both independently and with support. I am a Survivor of a system that discriminated against people with 'disabilities'. From the age of 15 months it could never be agreed whether I was retarded or normal/above average intelligent. One Doctor would see ability another Doctor would see disability; One teacher would see ability another disability. One physiotherapist would see 'disability' another stated I was extremely high functioning. One Doctor stated it was a 'miracle that I walked'. I have poor speech skills due to ataxic cerebral palsy and it could never be agreed by the medical profession whether I had 'classical autism'. I also suffer from the condition Meares/Irlen/Scotopic Sensitivity and I have worn tinted lenses for nineteen years. The tinted lenses have calmed the environment and enabled me to adapt to cope but they are not a cure. Society, the system, the powers that be gave up on me both as a child and a young adult; but I never gave up on myself and I refuse to do so. I enrolled myself in mainstream College at the age of nineteen and on the merit of a poem that I had written at the age of 15/16 I was given a placement on an 'A' (Advanced Level) course. The Lecturers recognised my ability and supported me in my decision to attend a mainstream education. Unlike special education I really enjoyed College and studied English Literature and Art History.

    I never stood a chance in the education system as a child. I have had to struggle to stand, walk, talk, write, type, read. I am never going to be what society perceives as 'normal'. My physical ability is never going to be 'normal'. My sight is never going to be 'normal'. My speech - I gave up on it a long long time ago - is never going to be normal. But at the same time I do not think that I or any other child deserve to be 'labelled' by society. We are all individuals and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. We deserve equality not segregation. I am a person in my own right. I am not a 'disability label' and I am not 'disabled'.

    The question is a bigger one than the question of FC it is the question of being given equal opportunities; the right of communication; and an equal education.

    Richard Attfield,
    Contributing Author to "Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone",

    "... comments, which I will try to address in brief, as I think there may only be about four or five people reading this blog entry at this point..."

    James Todd, I guess I'm number six then. Your time hasn't been wasted answering their comments, because I read every one, and am now informed enough not to fall into the trap offered by one of my son's carers - my son has autism. She introduced me to the idea of FC a couple of years ago and really sold me on it - told me a miraculous story and said she wanted to try it with my son. I let her show me what she meant and thought it looked interesting and harmless, but was a bit suspicious (naturally).

    Time went by and she stopped being in my son's life, but I remembered this idea of FC and thought it sounded promising. I'd mentioned it to other professionals in my son's life, who made a bit of a face when I asked them about FC, but never explained why it was a bad idea, I figured they were just skeptical.

    I wish someone had explained all of this to me - actually told me why it was pointless and so controversial.

    Well I know better now. So thank you. And next time someone mentions it to me I'll step up and explain to them the major problems and dangers of the method, which you have now educated me (and no doubt many others) about.

    kwombles
    I'm glad this was of help; Dr. Todd's expertise in facilitated communication is, I'm sure, more in depth than most folks who are active proponents. I've covered FC several times here at Science 2.0 and over at Countering, if you haven't read those pieces. There's also a very interesting comment thread on my rapid prompting method blog over at Countering, with Soma herself weighing in. Let me know if you need links. 
    And I wrote just this morning on FC; there's a new post at Huffington by a father whose son uses FC and is going off to college. Although I don't mention the piece in my post, I think my points and my cautions are directly relevant to that.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Thanks Kim, this was the first I'd read about FC (that I can recall). Prior to this it was just conversations with my son's carers. I've become a lot more savvy investigating and understanding therapies and interventions for autism, particularly since I started blogging about it and becoming a regular reader of autism and science blogs. I will be looking at those other pieces you mentioned too. I should be OK finding my way to them without direct links, I do appreciate the offer though :)

    [Autism & Oughtisms say] I wish someone had explained all of this to me - actually told me why it was pointless and so controversial.

    because it didnt/hasnt worked for your son (ABA didnt work for my daughter) doesn't mean it doesn't work for some/many...eg, to quote ad nauseam: ”there are amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...todd acknowledges (as in takes note of)

    I have reservations (similar to ms dawson) re the promotional science used to prove ABA and discredit FC...I am a “true believer” (not a good position) in observational science...the basis of all science (weel most all)...seeing is believing.

    the innate ability (to learn and communicate w/o formal education) is there in some/many/most on the spectrum...perhaps not your son...FC or whatever should not be denied them (eg, based on your single experience with your son) as a possibility to surface this ability...

    controversial...NOT pointless...

    [Autism & Oughtisms say] I'll step up and explain to them

    please do...,eg, have you had experience with FC other than your sons... even tho I believe in anecdotal evidence...one sample is not science...what good do you do calling FC snake oil...
    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    The problem with anecdotes is they aren't evidence, and facilitated communication has been clearly and decisively shown to be the facilitator communicating, not the individual. There are other alternative communication devices that avoid the co-option of communication by the facilitator. If one were truly committed to supporting the person who can't speak, if one truly had the individual's best interests at heart, then one would do everything it tool to ensure that no one robbed the individual of his expression.
    Period. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Stanley,

    I didn't say it didn't work with my son, and I didn't say it did. It was something we tried briefly with my son, but it was never - and was never going to be - the key to his communication break-through.

    What did work for us was pictures, and PECS more specifically. Once PECS had made some major break-throughs, and his verbal skills picked up, we shifted our focus to enhancing and working on those, to the point that he can now talk (though he still has a very long way to go).

    As Kim said - we didn't give in, we used the tools presented to us, and we found something that worked, that didn't essentially rob his voice from him. It seems to me that FC robs, rather than gifts, an austistic child a voice. There are other and better methods available.

    Also, we did use ABA with our son, and saw great benefits from it too. We no longer specifically use ABA, but we do use some of what we were taught in those sessions to help our son understand and function in the world.

    To blog owner:
    i have posted the below on two occasions. it shows up then disappears...please advise (you have my email address) if you are deleting my post, so i can move on...
    stanley seigler

    the below
    [Kwombles say] The problem with anecdotes is they aren't evidence,
    agree... Autism & Oughtisms’ andote re his son is not evidence FC doesn’t work...

    [Kwombles say] facilitated communication has been clearly and decisively shown to be the facilitator communicating opinion NOT “clearly and decisively” fact...eg, todd [LBRB blog] acknowledges (as in take note of) “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...
    do you believe the “FC Stars”, etal, have tricked universities, PhDs, nobel prize winner and parents living with autism for forty years?

    [Kwombles say] Period. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    I hear your “Period. No ifs, ands, or buts” closed mind” loud and clear...Hope you come to agree with Dr Todd’s opine: “this is a quite remarkable outcome that speaks to the possibility of additional thoughtful analyses of these issues”.

    If not hope you will at least consider: “do no harm” and take the position of a respected PhD psychologist; former director of a state developmental services department; and now an associate professor at BMU:
    "I’m not very sure of FC, but if parents want to assist their child that way and it is not harmful, who am I to decide differently? Best of all, FC has gotten more interest in things like language devices and computer use – and that’s great!”

    would you pls provide link to post re " a father whose son uses FC and is going off to college"
    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Stanley,
    If one's interest is truly to safeguarding the individual, to respecting the individual, then one cannot support FC; your adherence to a modality that has been shown to be fraudulent at worst and the result of an ideomotor effect at best demonstrates a lack of concern towards the robbing of a nonverbal individual of the chance to communicate genuinely through alternative assistive technologies in which no chance of co-option exists. A vague appeal to authority that some guy with a PhD doesn't see the harm is hardly compelling. This article clearly indicates what's the harm.

    Instead of addressing the specifics of this article, the damage done to this family because they pursued FC for their daughter, you've pushed your support for the very "therapy" that caused the problem and led to a family being torn apart. I'm rather disgusted by that, to be honest.


    I gave more than enough information for an interested party to find the article I was referring to in my comment, so no I won't link to it. If I'd wanted to link to it in my new post or here I would have.

    And I'm through engaging in this discussion with you. 

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [Autism & Oughtisms say]. It seems to me that FC robs, rather than gifts, an austistic child a voice... was never going to be the key to his communication break-through.

    perhaps you and others should blog on FCWorld...you will find quite a few who disagree...also see LBRB blog for a pro/con discussion...http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/10/facilitated-communication-where-does-a-neurodiverse-skeptic-stand/

    FC was the key to my 45 yo daughter’s (non verbal, needs 24/7, 1:1 support) reasonably contented life...ie, off wall behavior substantially reduced...as it been has for others...eg;

    todd [LBRB blog] acknowledges (as in take note of) “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...

    do you believe the “FC Stars”, etal, have tricked universities, PhDs, a nobel prize winner and parents living with autism for forty years?

    That facilitated communication has been clearly and decisively shown to be the facilitator communicating is: opinion NOT “clearly and decisively” fact...it indeed has/does work for many...and all should be given the opportunity/choice.

    Those who are on an anti-FC crusade do much harm...condemn many to a silent prison...i don’t understand their crusade...they ignore the “FC stars and abounding testimonials” and continue to use the old anecdote of a 14-year-old daughter who accused her father of molesting her, to diss FC...WHY?

    the harm done in this old story is by the courts...NOT by FC! as mentioned this case should have never been in the courts...as is possible even when FC is not involved.

    WHY NOT the position of a respected lady PhD psychologist; former director of a state developmental services department; and now an associate professor at BMU...and others:
    "I’m not very sure of FC, but if parents want to assist their child that way and it is not harmful, who am I to decide differently? Best of all, FC has gotten more interest in things like language devices and computer use – and that’s great!”

    this the opine of one who is truly interested in safeguarding the individual, to respecting the individual, and supports FC as choice...sorry one finds this father who has lived with autism forty some years, as disgusting.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Again with the vague appeals to authority and adding in  appeals to popularity, with a last ditch appeal to pity thrown in.
    You bring nothing new and certainly nothing compelling to the table. There are other modalities that avoid the problems inherent in facilitated communication.

    There is no excuse to use fc. None. 

    And I call bs on your contentions. 

    Consider this discussion closed, Stanley, and move on.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    no appeals, last ditch or otherwise...just providing information...its never was about kwombles...ie, specifically having a discussion with her, tho she provided a sounding board. and straight lines (thanks)...

    There is no excuse to use FC...except it works; reduces/eliminates behavior issues; provides a quality life for many on the spectrum and frees them from the silent prison.

    There are no more inherent problems with FC than other programs (maybe less)...eg, the ABA problems ms dawson discusses in THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS. http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/naa_aba.html

    As mentioned earlier: instead of pot (FC-con) calling kettle black (FC-pro)...seems their time better spent researching "the nature of intelligence in autism"...eg, the innate ability some/many/most on the spectrum have to communicate (and learn) without formal education...in many cases this ability is surfaced by FC...eg;

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Stanley, no, those were fallacious arguments, not information, and citing Dawson also is not persuasive nor is it scientific evidence. We're done here, and I will delete any future comments from you as I see them.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    kwombles
    Stanley, you don't seem to understand what done means.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    kwombles
    Stanley, I doubt he disagrees with me; the assertions I specifically responded to were indeed fallacious arguments.
     Again, we're done. I'm gonna delete you; you're not going to get the last word here just because I'm in that kind of a mood. So move off. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    kwombles
    I have replaced the comment just left by another individual with this one.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    re: The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits. Albert Einstein::
    adding to this truth:
    stupid people...dismiss a pursuit of additional knowledge because, to them, there is no point. The verdict is in, the consensus is defined, and the debate is over...ie, "Period. No ifs, ands, or buts" as someone said

    stanley seigler

    kwombles is on the wrong side of history...behind the times...being in TX, she probably thinks the south won the war...or that there were two wars...the civil war and the war between the states...she might even believe the earth was created 4000 BC...or that it's flat.

    re: I [kw] doubt he disagrees with me::
    you might want to post to confirm your doubts...i know close minded true believers, believe because they say it, it's fact...but oh so very wrong they are...
    stanley seigler
    ps: cute scientific video.

    re the assertions I specifically responded to were indeed fallacious arguments...::
    the arguments are the same as discussed with jim

    re: those were fallacious arguments, not information...::
    Jim Todd disagrees with you (as do others)...eg;
    he say: "including Stanley, whose provisional recommendation of me for preliminary information about FC in a sticky legal case is truly appreciated, and who did have some points to make (although not about me or my students getting rich or applying behavioral techniques in the way Matt does.) For an FC discussion, this is a quite remarkable outcome that speaks to the possibility of additional thoughtful analyses of these issues...Thank you and everyone else for their contributions. Jim" (maybe you should take clue...)

    also disagreeing...an authority that some guy [lady] with a PhD doesn't see the harm ...as do others

    BTW "This article clearly indicates what's the harm" is hardly compelling...and very little is compelling to a close minded, true-anti FC-believer (and you know what they say about true believers)...you may want to follow FCWorld (todd does) you may become qualified to diss FC...

    re: citing Dawson also is not persuasive nor is it scientific evidence::
    much more scientific than: "There is no excuse to use fc. None...And I call bs on your contentions."...oh/my sigh such scientific language...

    you do much harm to the non-verbals with your; "Period. No ifs, ands, or buts" mind set...not to mention it discredits your opinions...most reading you opine (except other true believers and tea partiers) will give little credence to one with a closed mind.

    you provide some great straight lines...i will quote them elsewhere...it's been fun...THANKS!

    stanley seigler

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Stanley, no, those were fallacious arguments, not information, and citing Dawson also is not persuasive nor is it scientific evidence. We're done here, and I will delete any future comments from you as I see them.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    no appeals, last ditch or otherwise...just providing information...its never was about kwombles...ie, specifically having a discussion with her, tho she provided a sounding board.

    There is no excuse to use FC...except it works; reduces/eliminates behavior issues; provides a quality life for many on the spectrum and frees them from the silent prison.

    There are no more inherent problems with FC than other programs (maybe less)...eg, the ABA problems ms dawson discusses in THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS. http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/naa_aba.html

    As mentioned earlier: instead of pot (con-FC) calling kettle black (pro FC)...seems their time better spent researching "the nature of intelligence in autism"...eg, the innate ability some/many/most on the spectrum have to communicate (and learn) without formal education...in many cases this ability is surfaced by FC...eg;

    stanley seigler

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    [Autism & Oughtisms say]. It seems to me that FC robs, rather than gifts, an austistic child a voice... was never going to be the key to his communication break-through.

    perhaps you and others should blog on FCWorld...you will find quite a few who disagree...also see LBRB blog for a pro/con discussion...http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/10/facilitated-communication-where-does-a-neurodiverse-skeptic-stand/

    FC was the key to my 45 yo daughter’s (non verbal, needs 24/7, 1:1 support) reasonably contented life...ie, off wall behavior substantially reduced...as it been has for others...eg;

    todd [LBRB blog] acknowledges (as in take note of) “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...

    do you believe the “FC Stars”, etal, have tricked universities, PhDs, a nobel prize winner and parents living with autism for forty years?

    That facilitated communication has been clearly and decisively shown to be the facilitator communicating is: opinion NOT “clearly and decisively” fact...it indeed has/does work for many...and all should be given the opportunity/choice.

    Those who are on an anti-FC crusade do much harm...condemn many to a silent prison...i don’t understand their crusade...they ignore the “FC stars and abounding testimonials” and continue to use the old anecdote of a 14-year-old daughter who accused her father of molesting her, to diss FC...WHY?

    the harm done in this old story is by the courts...NOT by FC! as mentioned this case should have never been in the courts...as is possible even when FC is not involved.

    WHY NOT the position of a respected lady PhD psychologist; former director of a state developmental services department; and now an associate professor at BMU...and others:
    "I’m not very sure of FC, but if parents want to assist their child that way and it is not harmful, who am I to decide differently? Best of all, FC has gotten more interest in things like language devices and computer use – and that’s great!”

    this the opine of one who is truly interested in safeguarding the individual, to respecting the individual, and supports FC as choice...sorry one finds this father who has live with autism forty some years, as disgusting.

    stanley seigler

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    To blog owner:
    i have posted the below on two occasions. it shows up then disappears...please advise (you have my email address) if you are deleting my post, so i can move on...
    stanley seigler

    the below
    [Kwombles say] The problem with anecdotes is they aren't evidence,
    agree... Autism & Oughtisms’ andote re his son is not evidence FC doesn’t work...

    [Kwombles say] facilitated communication has been clearly and decisively shown to be the facilitator communicating
    opinion NOT “clearly and decisively” fact...eg, todd [LBRB blog] acknowledges (as in take note of) “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...
    do you believe the “FC Stars”, etal, have tricked universities, PhDs, nobel prize winner and parents living with autism for forty years?

    [Kwombles say] Period. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    I hear your “Period. No ifs, ands, or buts” closed mind” loud and clear...Hope you come to agree with Dr Todd’s opine: “this is a quite remarkable outcome that speaks to the possibility of additional thoughtful analyses of these issues”.

    If not hope you will at least consider: “do no harm” and take the position of a respected PhD psychologist; former director of a state developmental services department; and now an associate professor at BMU:
    "I’m not very sure of FC, but if parents want to assist their child that way and it is not harmful, who am I to decide differently? Best of all, FC has gotten more interest in things like language devices and computer use – and that’s great!”

    kwombles, would you pls provide link to post re "a father whose son uses FC and is going off to college"

    stanley seigler

    Gerhard Adam
    I'm really getting tired of the "closed mind" argument every time someone's fantasy "research project" doesn't get any traction.  If you have evidence, then you need to present it, if you have none, then let it go.

    People believe all manner of things, including many things that don't work but that give them hope or confidence.  However, regardless of your feelings, there is no scientific data that suggests that FC works, and the more "miraculous" the claim the greater the suspicions that should be generated.

    In my view, the entire FC argument sounds quite similar to the testimony of people that believe in the Ouija board.  It's no different than the same claims of those that think they can speak with the dead.  In the end, we cling to what we want to believe and hear, and when coincidences strike, they seem like evidence.
    Mundus vult decipi
    kwombles

    NEW LAW: "THE FRIED CHICKEN INITIATIVE"

    We shall here by invoke "The fried chicken initiative" which means the minute someone casts doubt on someone's intelligence because they are from the south-they immediately lose the argument.--courtesy of Kathleen


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    re: We shall here by invoke "The fried chicken initiative" which means the minute someone casts doubt on someone's intelligence because they are from the south-they immediately lose the argument.--courtesy of Kathleen::
    kinda thought someone would bring this up (provide another straight line)...i am from the gallant, my beloved, South (chas, SC)...and most of my redneck friends are very intelligent...and they are NOT closed minded true believers...BTW the South is NOT unique to idiots...

    stanley seigler

    re: The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits. Albert Einstein::
    adding to this truth:
    stupid people...dismiss a pursuit of additional knowledge because, to them, there is no point. The verdict is in, the consensus is defined, and the debate is over...ie, "Period. No ifs, ands, or buts" as someone said
    stanley seigler

    kwombles is on the wrong side of history...behind the times...being in TX, she probably thinks the south won the war...or that there were two wars...the civil war and the war between the states...she might even believe the earth was created 4000 BC...or that it's flat.

    re: I [kw] doubt he disagrees with me::
    you might want to post to confirm your doubts...i know close minded true believers, believe because they say it, it's fact...but oh so very wrong they are...
    stanley seigler
    ps: cute scientific video.

    re the assertions I specifically responded to were indeed fallacious arguments...::
    the arguments are the same as discussed with jim

    re: those were fallacious arguments, not information...::
    Jim Todd disagrees with you (as do others)...eg;
    he say: "including Stanley, whose provisional recommendation of me for preliminary information about FC in a sticky legal case is truly appreciated, and who did have some points to make (although not about me or my students getting rich or applying behavioral techniques in the way Matt does.) For an FC discussion, this is a quite remarkable outcome that speaks to the possibility of additional thoughtful analyses of these issues...Thank you and everyone else for their contributions. Jim" (maybe you should take clue...)

    also disagreeing...an authority that some guy [lady] with a PhD doesn't see the harm ...as do others

    BTW "This article clearly indicates what's the harm" is hardly compelling...and very little is compelling to a close minded, true-anti FC-believer (and you know what they say about true believers)...you may want to follow FCWorld (todd does) you may become qualified to diss FC...

    re: citing Dawson also is not persuasive nor is it scientific evidence::
    much more scientific than: "There is no excuse to use fc. None...And I call bs on your contentions."...oh/my sigh such scientific language...

    you do much harm to the non-verbals with your; "Period. No ifs, ands, or buts" mind set...not to mention it discredits your opinions...most reading you opine (except other true believers and tea partiers) will give little credence to one with a closed mind.

    you provide some great straight lines...i will quote them elsewhere...it's been fun...THANKS!

    stanley seigler

    I love youse, Kim, but why don't ya make Dr. Todd get his own show??

    I am currently working on a research proposal for testing FC. I have reviewed various research both defending FC and also stating the invalidity. The difficulty that I see with all of the testing is that there seems to always be that there is some counterargument from either side. I am hoping to be able to develop a method of testing FC that will no longer be questionable and not leave the space for arguing the validity of testing. For example, Syracuse University has done research comparing the language of the communicators versus the facilitators. Their study shows that the communicators and facilitators use differing language patterns therefore FC is valid. Well, yeah....not exactly scientifically significant proof. One oposing FC could argue in various directions. If FC is like a ouija board effect, then naturally the language would be different because the communicator may drift toward and hit a letter or two and the facilitator if influencing could then have an idea of what is to be typed and inadvertantly answer for the supposed communicator. Anyhow... you already know the arguments in either direction I am sure. It may be hardest to find participants, but I think if it is done to be kept anonymously there may be more volunteers. I would appreciate any interest in my research, hoping that it does become an actual study.