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    This Is The Song That Never Ends: Facilitated Communication
    By Kim Wombles | March 17th 2012 12:26 PM | 54 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
    Yesterday, I wrote a post about how facebook is a rapid, easy way to spread misinformation and pseudoscience, and the difficulties in figuring out how to respond to pseudoscience when you see it. I wasn't specific about what triggered it, but I reached out to a few who shared the link and provided additional information, I placed a comment where I was invited to do so, and I flooded my facebook wall with information about facilitated communication.

    I didn't inundate other people's walls or posts with this information, but I tried in my own drown-my-own-wall-in-information way to make it clear just what hokum facilitated communication is, although I didn't allude to the article that started this flood of links.

    Facilitated communication started in Australia with Rosemary Crossley and Anne McDonald. Crossley was an employee at the institution that Anne was being warehoused at. Let's not pretend it wasn't warehousing and that Anne's care wasn't lackluster at best. Crossley got her out of there and cared for her for decades before Anne's death last year. I have no doubt that Crossley cared for Anne deeply and that Anne's life was better with Crossley than it was in the institution. None of this excuses that Rosemary spoke through Anne, co-opting Anne's communication. None of it does.

    In 2007, an article with Anne McDonald's byline was posted at www.seattlepi.com. It is a compelling piece, an inspiring piece, but it is almost certainly not the product of Anne. In the piece, Anne writes, "As the hospital didn't provide me with a wheelchair, I lay in bed or on the floor for most of the next 14 years. At the age of 12, I was relabeled as profoundly retarded (IQ less than 20) because I still hadn't learned to walk or talk." This should immediately, if nothing else does, even if the reader knows nothing of Rosemary Crossley or of facilitated communication, raise red flags. It is highly unlikely, given that Anne entered the institution at the age of 3, and grew up in a deprived environment with a lack of stimulation, and no attempt to provide education or the rudiments of language that she acquired the language skills represented in this 2007 article.

    Indeed, language acquisition has critical periods:

    Early postnatal childhood experience can decisively interfere with first language (LI) acquisition, including the LI acquisition of American Sign Language (e.g., Cohen, 2002; DeKeyser&Larson-Hall, 2005; Grimshaw, Adelstein, Bryden,&MacKinnon, 1998; Newton, 2002; Sakai, 2005). Feral children who have grown up in the wild (e.g., with wolves) or in isolated conditions during the first 4-6 years of their life during which time they are not exposed to human interaction and language, appear unable to speak complete sentences or learn Sign Language (e.g., Victor & Genie in Newton). These reports showed that although the genetic contribution is essential, environmental conditions can be decisive for the functional outcome. (Uylings)
    Language is not passively learned, and situations that are sub-optimal, as Anne's was, are not conducive to learning language. For a primer on language acquisition in neglected children, please see Timothy Mason's fascinating lecture


    Even if we granted that a child who had no brain damage and was provided no stimulation, no education, and little interaction could in late adolescence be taught language, the facts about facilitated communication are, for those who are following the scientific evidence rather than wishful thinking, undeniable. Facilitated communication doesn't work and isn't the communication of the individual, but is instead the product of the facilitator.


    And now for all the links and quotes:


    From Burgess et al., "Facilitated Communication as an Ideomotor Response":
     


    From Gorman (1998): 
    Financial issues have shadowed FC ever since the early days of its creation in Australia. FC was unconventional right from the beginning when it was created in 1977 by a "Play Leader" educated in the humanities named Rosemary Crossley (Makarushka, 1991). Crossley first used FC to communicate with a 16-year-old resident of St. Nicholas Hospital named Anne McDonald who had cerebral palsy and was mentally retarded. Two years later when McDonald turned 18, Rosemary Crossley facilitated a request from McDonald indicating that she wanted to leave the hospital and live with Crossley. The hospital objected to Crowley's claim and did not believe that McDonald was the author of the messages. However, an Australian court in The Queen v. The Health Commission of Victoria, Lipton and McGinn ex pane Anne McDonald was impressed by FC and allowed the release of McDonald to Crossley in May of 1979 (Dwyer, 1996).
    After Crossley successfully severed McDonald's ties to the hospital, she returned to court to release McDonald's financial affairs from Australia's "Public Trustee" After these ties were cut, Crossley signed her and McDonald's name to a publishing contract with Penguin books. The book, Annie's Coming Out, led to a movie detailing their experiences (Dwyer, 1996). The court understood the financial consequences and possible motivations surrounding the release of McDonald's financial affairs. An appointee of the court said that Crossley, "may make a personal gain. She conceded that she may do so" (Dwyer, 1996). But it was reasoned "that if such motive exists, it is of a secondary nature." Thus, the court relinquished the Public Trustee's control over McDonald as an infirm person and allowed McDonald's affairs to be dictated by FC in September of 1979 (Dwyer, 1996).
    Crossley tried similar tactics to remove other patients from St. Nicholas Hospital. But in 1984, the court in Wallace v. Health Commissioner (Dwyer, 1996) stopped Crossley, citing the findings of the 1980 "Eisen Committee Report" which investigated and rejected Crossley's claims regarding the patients' ability to facilitate. Undaunted by her failure to release others from the hospital, Crossly eventually went on in 1986 to establish her own independent institute called DEAL, which promotes FC.
    Early in 1998, Crossley raised the specter of financial motive again in her misguided and ironic attack on the late Dr. Leo Kanner, the physician who first discovered the classic features of autism. Crossley, who by her own admission only saw one person diagnosed as autistic before 1986 (Crossley, 1997b), the same year she opened her institute (DEAL website, 1997), recently said that Kanner "created" the disability of autism, and that "[i]f it had been possible to patent it, he would have made a fortune; Kannerism Copyright autism Trademark" (Crossley, 1997b). She went on to say that, "No refereed journal would dream of accepting it [Kanner's seminal paper] today" (Crossley, 1997b). Crossley is not the only one to cast stones from a glass house. U.S. News .& Worm Report stated, "Biklen thinks skeptics resist his method because it shatters their own theories about autism" When Biklen was asked whether he believed that critics attack him because of the threat that FC poses to the careers of his critics, Biklen responded, "[i]t's academic name calling, it's not important" (telephone interview, 11/25/97).
    And again from Gorman:


    Well-meaning facilitators who unconsciously speak for the disabled do so at the expense of being sensitive to more subtle behavioral cues that can effectively communicate an individual's basic wants and needs (Carr et. al., 1994). Not since the days of warehouse institutionalization have the disabled experienced as much powerlessness and loss of autonomy as they do with well-meaning facilitators today.

    From Norton (2006):

    What were the costs of uncritically accepting these facilitated messages? False accusations of sexual abuse were made, parents were investigated for child sexual abuse (some were even jailed), children were placed in long term foster care, families were torn apart, millions of public school dollars were spent to hire and train facilitators, and years of schooling were wasted as autistic children sat in advanced classes rather than learning the life skills they would need.
    From Riggott (2005), concerning a documentary about Sue Rubin:
    This story of hope against all odds sounds like a feel-good Hollywood drama. But the lead character in Autism Is a World is a real woman, and the film was nominated for best documentary short subject. What the documentary doesn't mention, however, is that FC has a dramatic and highly controversial history that reached a climax more than a decade ago when it was exposed as a pseudoscience.

    From Gina Green:

    A full and complete explanation for the FC phenomenon is still forthcoming, but clearly there are parallels with the ideomotor responses that direct dowsing sticks and the Ouija board. As the facilitator gently directs the hand to begin typing, letters are formed into words and words into sentences. Just as with the Ouija board where elaborate thoughts seem to be generated out of thin air while both parties consciously try not to move the piece across the board, the facilitators do not appear to be conscious that it is them generating the communication. Even with the autistic child looking elsewhere, or not looking at all (eyes closed), the hand is still rapidly pecking out letters as if it were a miracle. Unfortunately there are no miracles in mental health. All of us wish FC were true, but the facts simply do not allow scientists and critical thinkers to replace knowledge with wish.
    From Steven Novella:
    Scientifically, there is no controversy here. The claims of FC were always highly implausible and problematic, and the research has overwhelmingly shown that it is an illusion. It is a particularly cruel illusion – to patients, their families, and also practitioners who mean well and were as deceived by the ideomotor effect as their clients.
    But there is no longer any reasonable sympathy to be had for practitioners of FC. The information is out there. The ethical responsibilities of due diligence and to first do no harm precludes the use of a dubious technique such as FC.
    FC has died as a mainstream practice, but like all such practices it remains on the fringe. I am now seeing what appears to be a new generation of FC proponents, as awareness of FC has waned. Younger health care providers are not as aware of the FC story and so are not as immediately critical of it as they should be. The allure of FC is probably just too compelling for it to quietly go away, and every generation will likely have to debunk it anew.
     And for a current news story from Australia on FC, please watch this video.

    For a comprehensive list of pieces I have written on FC, see below:

    FACILITATED COMMUNICATION RELATED POSTS

    A Look at Facilitated Communication Posts and Disappointment
    Cheating: There Should Be No Shortcuts (and FC is)
    Confusing Terminology: When Parents Use Jargon Differently (or when facilitated is used instead of augmentative)
    Facilitated Communication Quackery gets Journalistic Promotion in Annapolis
    Facilitated Communication: A Price Too High To Pay
    Facilitated Communication: A Review of the Literature (with a new introduction)
    Fried Chicken Initiatives, Internet Laws, Cognitive Dissonance, and Self-Justification
    Holding Educators Accountable For Evidence-Based Practices: FC Isn't One
    Navigating the Autism World: Minefields at Every Turn (FC is still Bunk)
    Skepticism of Stories to Good to be True
    So if Facilitated Communication has been shown to be Pseudoscience, What's a Parent to Do with a Nonverbal Child?

    Facilitated communication doesn't work. It is a shortcut that may lead to miraculous results but those results are ultimately revealed to be no more than the emperor's new clothes.

     Resources:


    Gorman, B. J. (1998). Facilitated communication in America: Eight years and counting. Skeptic, 6(3), 64.


    Norton, L. (2006). Facilitated Communication and the Power of Belief. Skeptic, 12(4), 14-15. 

    Riggott, J. (2005). PSEUDOSCIENCE IN AUTISM TREATMENT: ARE THE NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA HELPING OR HURTING?. Scientific Review Of Mental Health Practice, 4(1), 55-58.
     
    Uylings, H. M. (2006). Development of the Human Cortex and the Concept of "Critical" or "Sensitive" Periods. Language Learning, 56(1), 59-90.

    Comments

    rholley
    This incident in the career of Frederick of Sicily (1194 – 1250) might interest (more likely appall) you:

    « In the Language deprivation experiment young infants were raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve by God. In his Chronicles Salimbene wrote that Frederick bade "foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which had been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments."»
     
     
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    kwombles
    Absolutely terrifying, isn't it?
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Thanks for including the link to the 'current news story from Australia on FC, please watch this video'. At least in this video (the story from the 7:30 Report) people will get a more balanced picture. Your extreme position on FC is not at all supported by the responses to the 7:30 Report program on their Facebook page. How you maintain your extreme position in the face of evidence to the contrary is interesting. For eg, did you actually watch the program and see the FC user Tim Chan typing? If so, do you assume that his mother is controlling his typing from his shoulder? I guess you are selectively seeing only what you expect to see, in order to maintain your self-righteous skepticism.

    kwombles
    With a willing participant, it is incredibly easy to guide communication from the shoulder. I've been able to do that several times with my autistic children. As long as they're sitting and willing to type, I can influence their typed communication with subtle pressure on the shoulder. 
    The person selectively seeing is not me.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Thanks Kim. You say "...it is incredibly easy to guide communication from the shoulder. I've been able to do that several times with my autistic children". Wow Kim, it's great that you can do that with your kids, you must be really talented! Did you actually see the video?

    kwombles
    Nope, doesn't take talent to do it--that's part of the point-- it is incredibly easy to co-opt communication.
    Your assertions regarding the video are not valid arguments in support of facilitated communication; they do not prove the authenticity of the authorship. People can be cued through shoulder support. People can be cued without even being touched. Did you not watch the video and listen to Alan Hudson?
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Thanks Kim, but you haven't answered my question - did you actually see the video??? It sounds like you didn't see it or didn't notice that part with Tim Chan typing. Please...it's a simple question.

    kwombles
    I gave you your answer in my response--people can be cued with only shoulder support. Chan was supported at the shoulder. Alan Hudson noted in the video that even without touch cuing could occur. Did you miss that? 
    There's absolutely no point in any further dialogue with you.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    kwombles
    Facilitated communication proponents (and by this I mean the people who actually peddle it and themselves as facilitators) can be sneaky--Biklen has made sure the talking points they use are well-laid out, that it's couched in rhetoric about inclusion, and that he and his facilitators come off as near-saints who believe that competency should be presumed rather than taught.

    Competency is easy--if they can get parents and educators (who should know better) to assume that all nonverbal individuals understand the complexities of a particular language, then no learning curve is necessary--and competency presumed is competency demonstrated. It fits in with parents' most intense desires.

    So facilitators will go to great lengths to play out "yes, but" exchanges. When the quality of one's argument is "yes, but did you watch the video?," there's nothing to discuss. Evidence hasn't been offered, at least not of the validity of what's on the video.

    Yes, but...
    "...it's only the shoulder being touched."
         An established relationship with a facilitator allows subtle cuing via the arm or shoulder, with the result being the letters being typed that the facilitator wants.

    "...she's only holding the keyboard."
       And shifting the keyboard, providing cues as to what key to press.

    "she's only sitting beside the typist."
       And moving her hands, fingers, or some other body movement to indicate the key.

    We cue our students (as teachers) with our tone of voice, our eye gaze, our body movements. We do the same with our children, our pets (and even our spouses).

    "Yes, but autistics can't read body language."
        Not true. Autistics, like anyone familiar with another person, can read subtle cues that strangers might not catch.

    So if a facilitator wants to argue the merits of FC, "yes, but did you watch the video" is not an argument with any evidence that FC works and is independent communication. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Mr. Henry:

    If the claim is that someone cannot be made to type exactly what a facilitator wants by a light touch on the shoulder, then it is not necessary to see the Chan video, or any video.

    It is simply a fact that such cueing is possible. To argue against it is the astonishing thing. Why would anyone deny the possibility that the typing of one person could be entirely and secretly signaled, letter by letter, by another person's gentle touch--or by even more subtle cues? One reason to argue that is to protect FC from the ravages of reality.

    The literature of science is replete with examples of one individual being cued to do something by another, even by signals invisible to observers and undetected by the participants themselves. Robert Rosenthal devoted much of his career to studying and writing about this problem in experimental psychology. James Randi's career contains similar examples. But the study of the subject is much older than their work, going back at least two centuries as a formal enterprise. We concern ourselves with these factors when children are interviewed in abuse cases by overzealous prosecutors and police, and when people are put under hypnosis. But we don't need to be steeped in the literature of experimenter effects, demand characteristics, and unconscious influence to know this. Practically everyone who takes an introductory psychology class learns about how Clever Hans was signaled by cues unconsciously supplied by his questioners. Less well know was Lady Wonder, who was also a horse. She had a keyboard to type on. No one touched her. Yet, she wrote out messages. Is it the position of the FC establishment that a human being cannot do what a horse can? I thought we were supposed to "presume competence."

    Here's the deal. When we establish pointing or other kinds of selection as means of communicating, we always run the risk of establishing prompt dependency. That is, we run the risk that the subject will learn to point or choose based substantially or entirely on signals given by the observer. I have seen instances in which children learned to select the item the teacher was looking at, a common problem. In another instance, a teacher always started to inhale slightly (and inaudibly to anyone more than a few feet away) when the child started reaching for the wrong choice. Hearing the signal, he then made a different choice. This teacher had replicated the "Pinchbeck Method" of simulating communication.

    Another example. In PECS, a child might first select a page with some icons, then select an individual icon from that page. However, the seemingly independent and voluntary selection of the PECS token might be nothing of the sort if the child turns pages until the teacher seems pleased, then moves a hand over the items on the page until teacher again signals in the manner of a "hot and cold" game. In this case, the teacher has replicated the manner that Lady Wonder was cued to type words. Eventually, this performance is shaped up until the child's selections look natural and spontaneous, and the teachers cues are so subtle that no one, including the teacher, detects them. Good practice dictates that teachers using these methods not attend directly to the selection process, and even then test to see if the cueing is occurring.

    A few years ago, I was witness to some allegedly independent FC. That is, the woman held the keyboard herself, and seemed to select the letters, slowly, on her own. However, it was obvious that her movements over the keyboard were cued by her facilitator's hand movements. The history of the situation, as I understood it, indicated that the initial hand-over-hand physical prompting had been shaped over the years to become the gestural prompting I observed. I was told that the facilitator was "shadowing" the woman. Sure he was. Shadowing in advance.

    The problem with FC, and its relative Rapid Prompting, is that their advocates acknowledge that cueing can occur, but deny it can ever happen to them. It's always someone else's problem. Rather than protect the rights of the people they facilitate, they declare themselves immune to factors we know from centuries of science, and decades of direct experience with FC, affect everyone else. These advocates do absolutely nothing to legitimately protect their clients against facilitator control or objectively test for it. To do so, they say, would be an "insult" to the facilitated communicator. An insult? Are we really supposed to believe that all these "FC users"--including the one a few years ago whose finger typed to me, "Sir you suck," in front of a group of FC advocates--are so emotionally delicate that they can't even label a cup if asked to do so without the facilitator hearing the question? I submit that an adult who can supposedly independently type "Sir you suck" is disqualified in the emotional delicacy department, and should have no trouble agreeing to answer a few simple questions in the absence of the facilitator. I guess they can dish it out, but can't take it. And, what about the competence of the facilitator? Why are all of them off the hook? Haven't we documented enough instances of veteran, well-trained facilitators totally controlling the output to know that they cannot be trusted to catch or stop themselves? Of course, the rank-and-file FC advocates are no help. They will argue that FC is genuine simply because someone has posted a YouTube video of it. Indeed, that is the requirement: blind faith. Despite FC never being shown to work reliably by reasonable scientific methods, and failing every time it is objectively tested, we are required by FC doctrine to believe the next instance is the real thing. It's no wonder that they run from objective testing.

    I have, in fact, seen the video in question, and many more like it. It appears to be yet another instance of a person typing what a facilitator is authoring, in this case by physical cues to the back. That's what all the science on FC and things like it tell us is happening--more FC. To conclude anything else from this kind of demonstration, at this point in history, is to fail ethically, professionally, and rationally.

    You seem to put a lot of stock in videos. But not so much in Kim Wombles completely credible statement that she can get her kids to type what she wants with a light touch. What would happen if I created a video of just this thing--one person controlling the typing of another by a light touch on the back? Would you then go to the FC people with the enthusiasm that you are here defending the Chan video to tell them to drop the abjectly stupid idea that typing cannot be controlled by a light touch, and to stop squandering the money and credibility of the people of Australia on demonstrably dangerous autism pseudoscience.

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.

    Seems like my comments are being blocked - could you confirm if that is true please?

    Are my comments being blocked or removed?

    Thanks Kim and James Todd,
    for your lengthy replies, which I've read through. Kim, you say, rather rudely I feel, "There's absolutely no point in any further dialogue with you." Is that because I didn't agree with you? I simply asked if you'd seen the video of Tim Chan typing. Asking if you'd actually seen the video is not the quality of my argument, but I think it is a test of your willingness to see beyond what you want to see. You both say you don't need to see the video because you've already seen people being supported on the shoulder or back, is that right? Actually James Todd, you say you have seen the video of Tim Chan and many more like it, is that right?

    You say that [Kim] "can get her kids to type what she wants with a light touch. What would happen if I created a video of just this thing--one person controlling the typing of another by a light touch on the back?"

    Well, that would be absolutely fantastic guys!!! I'd love it if you could get a video of this, PLEEASE!!! - supporting on the shoulder or back. But make sure the kids are typing intelligent sounding and complex sentences at the rate of nearly one letter per second, OK???

    And yes I will declare to the world that FC is a complete fake.

    You suggested it - you do it - your challenge, OK? When will you start?

    Sincerely,
    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    OK, I have watched the video and it is chock full of problems.

    1.  Use of the lightwriter.
    Your Lightwriter® will automatically remember the words and phrases you type and how you use them. As you begin to communicate it will predict what you are most likely to enter next, and will display several options on screen to make conversation and typing quicker and easier.
    http://www.toby-churchill.com/en/products/text-speech/keyboard-lightwriters/sl40

    2.  The fact that there were too many times when Tim wasn't even looking at the keyboard.

    3.  The verbage sounds contrived.  That's simply not the way 16 year olds talk.  You may argue that he isn't exposed to the normal social interactions that would produce such language usage, but I would equally argue that it isn't likely then that he use fully formed adult phrases and sentences either.

    4.  Where is an actual transcript of what was typed?  Without that, we have third party interpretation of what is taking place.
    [As an example, ... in one instance I counted 5 keystrokes for the word 'YES'].  Equally interesting is the use of contractions.  This seems highly suspect.

    So, in a nutshell, without more evidence, this looks completely contrived.  While I can appreciate the desire for people to have high expectations and hope, this doesn't appear to be it.  It just seems like no one is taking this topic seriously enough to subject it to scientific scrutiny [at least not those that support it]. 


    Mundus vult decipi
    kwombles

    No, it's because I've answered the question. I have, and it's not proof that FC provides genuine, authentic communication out of the individual. Given the abundant research, the position of over a dozen august organizations dealing with medicine and psychology that FC is completely and thoroughly debunked, the burden of proof is not on me. The burden of proof that FC  works is on proponents of FC to demonstrate no facilitator co-option of authorship.

    I highly doubt that any video we provided would be proof of anything to an FC proponent.

    I'm willing to engage in productive discussion. Discussion with you is not productive. Ergo, I will not engage with you again. Rude or not, my time is limited and better spent elsewhere. In other words, and to put it more crudely, I tend to avoid pissing up trees.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    ChrisB
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    WhatI find depressing about the bulk of writing against facilitated communication training is that the authors seem to have no ability to place themselves into the situations of people with disabilities. This particularly manifests itself, as here, in the writer being fully conscious of the problems that would arise if a person without the ability to communicate is wrongly credited with the ability to communicate but shows no ability to comprehend the problems that would arise if a person with the ability to communicate is wrongly not credited with the ability to communicate.  Yes, if one acknowledged both possible downsides then one would proceed to examine the evidence, and one's conclusion might well be that FC does not work; however, unless one has closed off any consideration of what it might be like to be trapped in your own body and unable to reach any other person one might require a fairly high level of proof that this was not occurring. 

    Asa long-time friend of Anne McDonald I'll illustrate it with one of her published articles.

    http://www.annemcdonaldcentre.org.au/anne-proving-i-exist

    Yes, you'll dismiss itbecause you believe she couldn't communicate, but that's not what it's for; it's to see if, for a moment, you  can be induced to place yourself in the mind of another, even hypothetically.    
    Nothing about us without us
    Gerhard Adam
    Why would you make an emotional appeal to a scientific question?  More specifically I can tell you exactly why the article in question is rubbish.

    If people with disabilities were truly able to communicate through a facilitator and to be as literate and coherent as claimed, then there should no problem in having THEM describe what sort of tests would demonstrate the workability of facilitated communication.

    However I suspect that such a suggestion would be met with comments similar to those in the article such as:
    I don’t like any suggestion that my communications aren’t mine.
    Well, why the hell not?  For someone that professes such a normal intellectual level while recognizing the limitations of their communication without FC, don't you think that the "rational" course would be to assist people in demonstrating it?  Not to take an attitude that their claims should be beyond reproach.

    It reeks of manipulation.  Your entire comment is based on "wishing" and "hoping" for something rather than offering an argument that would demonstrate it to be true.  Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp.  If you're truly concerned about someone being intellectually trapped in a non-responsive body, then why wouldn't you push for as much research, testing, and evidence as possible?  Instead everyone wants to accept third-party accounts, etc as evidence when it simply isn't there.

    I would think that the stakes are sufficiently high that people would want to find the truth, yet every time I see another piece on FC, it turns out to be more sales pitch than substance.  It's as if people want to support the illusion, rather than determining factually what is possible.

    As a result, I can only conclude that it isn't true.  There isn't a single shred of evidence to suggest that it does anything to improve communication skills.  Every time someone wants to show another video, I see the same poor attempts of people to fool themselves into thinking that something special is happening.  It isn't.

    BTW ... the argument presented at the end of the paper is a logical fallacy. 
    ...the method cannot be validated unless users come forward to give evidence, and evidence presented by users cannot be entertained because the method has not yet been validated.

    Actually all one has to do is demonstrate the rationality of the individual without the FC, however I suspect that we'll then hear how it doesn't work except with certain people and how only someone familiar can do it, etc. etc. etc.  In short, making excuses because without that "special" intervention, nothing apparently works.

    Also the argument about "being trapped inside the body" is also a fallacy.  There are plenty of people that have had such disabilities, and they all invariably still possess the ability to demonstrate their ability to think and reason.  A disability doesn't not preclude such activities.  However to argue in the written word as claimed by FC, goes far beyond simple communication. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    ChrisB
    "....the argument about "being trapped inside the body" is also a fallacy.  There are plenty of people that have had such disabilities, and they all invariably still possess the ability to demonstrate their ability to think and reason. "

    The confusion shown here is part of the problem I have with this discussion. 


    There are people who have the particular disability, whatever it is.  These people have, along a continuum, more or less severe forms of the condition.  Some of these people are able to communicate independently to the point that  they can demonstrate their ability to think and reason to Adam's satisfaction, and some have not. 


    Adam concludes from this that (a) all the people in the first category have the ability to think and reason and that (b) none of the people in the second category can think or reason (what he actually says is that there are no people at all in the second group, but I don't think this is what he means). 


    There is no reason to believe this to be true, there are repeated historical instances of this not being true, and it is hard to conceive how the proposition could be established even theoretically. Its employment as an argument can be explained only as an example of contradicting anything that an FCT advocate says, as in the classics.
    Nothing about us without us
    Gerhard Adam
    These people have, along a continuum, more or less severe forms of the condition.  Some of these people are able to communicate independently to the point that  they can demonstrate their ability to think and reason to Adam's satisfaction, and some have not.
    The point is that the ability to communicate is NOT synonymous with the ability to think and reason.  Therefore my point is that people that are unable to communicate have nevertheless been able to demonstrate their ability to think and reason.

    If FC were true, then the situation isn't that these people are incapable of thinking and reasoning, but only that they are incapable of communication.  So, one doesn't have to examine FC, one simply has to observe whether the behavior is up to the same level of thinking and reasoning that the communication implies.  If they are not the same, then something is clearly not accurately reflecting the individual's condition.

    So, it should be relatively easy to demonstrate that Tim Chang's behavior [apart from communication] is consistent with the ideas he's expressing.
    Mundus vult decipi
    ChrisB
    Given that autism is, in its visible manifestations, a behavioural disorder, which Tim Chan uncontestedly has, requiring that "Tim Chang's [sic] behavior [apart from communication] is consistent with [the behaviour of a person without autism who has] the ideas he's expressing" would be to require him not to have autism, in which case the question wouldn't arise. Requiring that "Tim Chang's [sic] behavior [apart from communication] is consistent with [the behaviour of a person with autism who has] the ideas he's expressing" - that is, that people with autism who can communicate can behave as oddly as Tim - is, on the other hand, a fairly easy task, as many people with autism who can communicate behave very oddly indeed. 
    Nothing about us without us
    Gerhard Adam
    The point is about the ability to "reason and think" consistent with the ideas being expressed during FC.  You can't claim that autism is a behavioral disorder that precludes an individual from acting rationally and then claim that they become rationale by having a facilitator present.

    Therefore, my point is that regardless of whatever visible manifestations of autism exist, there must be an underlying element of rationality and thought that would be reflected in the behavior.  

    After all, according to the papers written through FC, the point is that these people are completely normal thinkers, and more importantly, have obviously absorbed all the nuances of language and academic subjects to render them capable of expressing these ideas.  This requires that there be an underlying level of normalcy that permeates all aspects of that individual's life.  Consequently there should be an explicit "disconnect" between the thought processes and the ability to ascertain what is being "thought" versus the behavior that is largely out of the individual's control.

    Of course, what's problematic here, is that for this to be true, then it would argue that autism is strictly a physical motor-control disorder. 

    Basically the argument becomes one of where "input" processing occurs normally and the individual is cognitively capable of processing and reacting to everything as normal.  So the only impairment would occur on the "output" side where the cognitive component needs to utilize the physical domain to express itself.  That's a pretty clear cut barrier and obviously quite capable of being tested.

    However, if you would care to elaborate on your definitions and demonstrate how this isn't true, then by all means ...

    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    BTW ... here are several responses from Tim Chan on the posted YouTube link

    Please explain the "behavioral disorder" part. 

    Hi James, this is Tim Chan, I'd like to see us, people like Kingsley and me, do our darnest to show others that we can help them understand us better through our particular voice. That despite our obvious disability, we are not that different in wanting people to hear what we have to say and be given our choice to say it as we can't do it by talking.

    Hi Sue. This is Tim Chan, I am sure I was much more jumpy at 12 , I got better because I kept it up and Mum would never let me get too complacent. I'm really glad my skills are improving and I can have a say in my life.

    Hi Jowat, this is Tim Chan. Thank you for respecting our need to communicate using FC. It is not by choice as I would give a kingdom to be able to talk. As I can't , I am only able to speak via FC, and it has been a long and hard road to type as I do now with minimal support from familiar people. What motivates me to take part in the demonstration of FC is to help others understand that we have a desperate need to communicate and FC offers the means to give us our voice .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=279h9QJ9ptw

    "Complacent"?  really ... from a 16 year old autistic boy?

    Don't you find it a little bit disconcerting that there are no grammatical errors, nor poorly expressed ideas in these statements?  Where exactly did all this knowledge originate from?  Phrases like "I would give a kingdom" sound seriously contrived and I would question any normal 16 year old's ability to communicate in this precise a manner.

    =================================================================

    It would appear that you're mischaracterizing a "visible behavior disorder" with motor skills deficiency.  After all, for these comments to be formed and articulated as normal thoughts, there clearly is no behavioral disorder at all.   Where are the hallmarks of a behavioral disorder in the communication?  Again, if these traits are not present psychologically [i.e. through communication], then they cannot be a condition that exists in autism [according to the FC advocates].
    Mundus vult decipi
    ChrisB
    OK, maybe I'm having trouble understanding your point.  Let's wind it back.  When you say "_one doesn't have to examine FC, one simply has to observe whether the behavior is up to the same level of thinking and reasoning that the communication implies", what behaviour would meet that criterion? 

    Nothing about us without us
    Gerhard Adam
    Any behavior that demonstrates that it is the product of a rational thought out process.  In other words, while the ability to execute the desired behavior may be difficult [or impossible] because of the disability, the intent and objective should still be clearly recognizable as a rational objective that is well thought out.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thanks Gerhard, Kim and Chris.

    Todd, you claimed that you could show me a video of Kim's kids typing while being controlled from the shoulder or back! While Todd hasn't replied, Kim, you seem to have run away from the challenge. I've invited you to back-up your claim that Tim Chan is being controlled from the shoulder while typing at the rate of nearly one letter per second.

    Kim, in response to my question and challenge, you haven't been able to provide any further information to explain HOW ANY PERSON COULD BE CONTROLLED FROM THE SHOULDER TO TYPE AT NEARLY ONE LETTER PER SECOND. You say you're "willing to engage in productive discussion" but it appears not. Instead of answering my challenge, you simply run the other way, claiming the burden of proof is on me... because 'you just know for sure that I'm wrong!' Rather unscientific isn't it? And I agree Chris - 'lack of imagination' too!

    Gerhard, thanks for watching the video! Your pointing out problems is basically irrelevant to my challenge for any of you FC 'skeptics' to explain how he's being controlled. Except your point 4. about a transcript, I think that's a good question, thanks. I assume you don't have any experience with such communication devices so I do understand your need to learn more. There are longer videos of Tim Chan and others typing, where you can see the devices are speaking what is being typed, including using word prediction of course (do you understand how that works now). Some of the videos show the letters and words as they come up on the little screen in the device. Here is a link to another video of Tim -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=279h9QJ9ptw&context=C48cbc12ADvjVQa1PpcFN...

    "Facilitated Communication - "I would not get to this stage if I did not get full support initially"

    In the spirit of genuine scientific inquiry, please let me know what you find.

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    ...where you can see the devices are speaking what is being typed, including using word prediction of course (do you understand how that works now)...
    I have seen nothing that focuses on the keyboard, finger placement, accuracy or the text itself.  Word prediction, of course, creates more problems because we don't actually know what is being typed versus what is being "predicted" by the machine.

    However, the videos are highly suspect because too often Tim is seen looking elsewhere [which would make his single finger typing a true phenomenon].  In addition, depending on the keyboard used, the words don't seem to track with either an alphabetic or QWERTY keyboard.  Since only one finger is being used, it is much easier to follow the relative position of the letters and I have a real problem correlating finger placement versus the words being generated.

    There is too much not being shown here.  Instead of marveling at how wonderful all this is, why not simply place a video so that the keyboard itself can be observed.  In short, I'm underwhelmed by the "evidence".
    Mundus vult decipi
    Mr. Henry:

    I can see that this will not be a productive interchange. You are already moving the goal posts, and seem to be demanding that I respond on your schedule. Your attempt to depict a snotty, incredulous tone of voice with creative punctuation and capitalization also doesn't suggest you are interested in engaging this issue seriously. Neither does the more recent manner in which you are now addressing me directly by last name only. I am used to this. It is what happens when the facts run short.

    The reality is that I never said, as you are claiming I did, that I was going to create a video of Ms. Wombles' children typing at the rate and in the exact manner you (not I) specified. I suggested a generic demonstration. I have noted this sort of thing to in FC debates. My position is recharacterized or rewritten, then that disorted version is quoted. I guess that's what being facilitated is like. Not being permitted my own voice, having it replaced by that of another person. Here is what I said:

    "What would happen if I created a video of just this thing--one person controlling the typing of another by a light touch on the back?"

    It would hardly be appropriate to presume I might employ another's children in the manner you suggest. Besides, Ms. Wombles lives over 1000 miles away from me. And, it seems that I might be permitted more than a day or so to put what I planned together. I have other things to do in addition to these. I think you will have to be patient, and go back and re-examine what was really said, rather than relying so on what you imagine was said. In doing so you might discover that one goal of my remarks was to demonstrate how you value online video demonstrations, essentially visual testimonials, over scientific evidence. In fact, you seem to value them so highly that you press for them be done immediately, on your schedule, on your terms--which will no doubt change again, and yet again, if what we are seeing so far is any indication.

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.

    ChrisB
    Videos are a lot closer to primary evidence than journal articles are.  People who reject any reference to primary evidence are misled in their definitions of 'evidence' and 'scientific'. 
    Nothing about us without us
    ChrisB
    While we're at it, in writing as she did here -- 
    "Early in 1998, Crossley raised the specter of financial motive again in her misguided and ironic attack on the late Dr. Leo Kanner, the physician who first discovered the classic features of autism. Crossley, who by her own admission only saw one person diagnosed as autistic before 1986 (Crossley, 1997b), the same year she opened her institute (DEAL website, 1997), recently said that Kanner "created" the disability of autism, and that "[i]f it had been possible to patent it, he would have made a fortune; Kannerism Copyright autism Trademark" (Crossley, 1997b). She went on to say that, "No refereed journal would dream of accepting it [Kanner's seminal paper] today" (Crossley, 1997b). "
    -- Crossley was absolutely correct in every particular. 
    No refereed journal would today dream of accepting a thirty-three page article with quite literally not a single footnote.
    If Kanner had been able to patent the term, he would have made money - and because he wasn't able to do anything of the kind, he didn't.  This was 'humour'.
    Kanner did create autism, as a concept; that grouping of criteria didn't constitute a condition before him, and may not remain a condition indefinitely.  It is true that the criteria for autism have changed markedly since Kannerian autism came into being in 1943 - Wombles doesn't seem to agree, for example, that people with autism are "unquestionably possessed of good cognitive potentials" - but that's a different matter.
    More generally, nothing that Crossley said amounted in any way to an attack on Kanner, whose willingness to engage in personal observation and rich description of individual cases is much missed today. 
    I am, I know, picking at minor points, for two reasons; 
    one, that the clear distortion of readily ascertainable material shows the degree to which critics of FCT are blinded by their preconceptions, and 
    two, if these critics didn't think the points were significant they presumably wouldn't have included them. 
    Nothing about us without us
    ChrisB
    I suppose having the issues covered here at least means I can draw on them for other uses.  So;
    But in 1984, the court in Wallace v. Health Commissioner (Dwyer, 1996) stopped Crossley, citing the findings of the 1980 "Eisen Committee Report" which investigated and rejected Crossley's claims regarding the patients' ability to facilitate. 
    Gorman cites "(Dwyer, 1996)" above, so has presumably read it; and one wonders why, then, he failed to mention its findings that 
    After Judge Gorman delivered judgment, the Minutes and supporting notes were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Some were released without a hearing, others only after proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Victoria.. They contradict Dr Eisen's evidence in the following respects.....
    2. it was not true that no "child" seen by the Eisen committee showed any evidence of even the most elementary level of literacy or numeracy; [they did in fact show evidence of competence in both]
    The Minutes and Secretary's notes show that the report misrepresented what was actually found by the Eisen Committee in its sessions working with the "children". Had the Committee's notes been produced at the hearing, Dr Eisen's evidence would, as Judge Gorman acknowledged, have been discredited. The Court was misled as to the existence of this vital evidence which could well have avoided the tragic result for Angela Wallace. 

    The Eisen Committee was neither the first nor the last body to decide that no evidence of communication by people previously diagnosed as retarded could ever be enough, and its spirit lives on today - as shown, in reasonable facsimile, by Gorman's failure to cite the relevant evidence and by Womble's unquestioning citation of Gorman. 





    Nothing about us without us
    Thanks Chris, yes isn't it amazing that some people don't believe what they can see with their own eyes but will believe what they read if it fits with their expectations and needs. Yes it seems like a lot of people are basing their judgments on other's judgments etc etc going back to incomplete information. I hope the extreme 'skeptics' will take the time to look into this!

    Thanks Gerhard, for watching the video and having some genuine questions. Your question about 'looking the other way' - it's quite well-known that a lot of people with autism have highly developed periferal vision. Your have concerns or questions about word prediction and 'correlating finger placement' etc. I'm not really sure what you mean by some of this stuff or how you propose it explains what you see in the videos. Perhaps I will try to find a video showing the keyboard, if that's what you need - would it allay your concerns? You sound like you have some genuine willingness to learn, so I'd suggest you could research word prediction and other issues yourself so that you know what you're talking about.

    Thanks James Todd, I'm sorry if I put words into your mouth (perhaps I was controlling you from the shoulder or back!) Your response is basically irrelevant because I challenged you to explain your assertion that 'it's easy to control a person from the shoulder or back' - you are still trying to run away from this challenge.

    I will repeat the question for you and anyone else (and I'm using capitals to highlight it again for you) -
    HOW CAN A PERSON BE CONTROLLED FROM THE SHOULDER TO TYPE LIKE THIS A RATE OF NEARLY ONE LETTER PER SECOND? OR WHAT OTHER CREDIBLE EXPLANATION IS THERE FOR WHAT YOU SEE IN THESE VIDEOS IF IT'S BEING FAKED?

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    HOW CAN A PERSON BE CONTROLLED FROM THE SHOULDER TO TYPE LIKE THIS A RATE OF NEARLY ONE LETTER PER SECOND? OR WHAT OTHER CREDIBLE EXPLANATION IS THERE FOR WHAT YOU SEE IN THESE VIDEOS IF IT'S BEING FAKED?
    Well, that's the problem isn't it?  After all, that's precisely what you're claiming by arguing that FC works.  In other words, you can't claim that FC works because someone is there "facilitating" the typing and then argue that they aren't "facilitating" the result.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    You sound like you have some genuine willingness to learn...
    I'm going to say this once, so please listen.  Don't patronize me.  If you have evidence, then I expect it presented and not to be sent off like some child on an errand to research irrelevant topics.

    The problem is simple enough.  You're claiming that FC provides insight into the deeper reaches of an individual's mind where they are clearly rational and normal thinkers.  Therefore, please demonstrate what evidence you have that this is what the internal thought processes of autistic individuals is.

    One thing that can be readily demonstrated is to indicate their behavior and reaction under normal circumstances where well-reasoned and rational choices need to be made.  In this situation, since your claim is that autism is merely a block against normal expression, we should still be able to ascertain that these individuals are reasoning normally but being prevented from expressing themselves only.

    What evidence do you have that this is the case? 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard, I don't understand your first response, do you? Do you remember that James Todd claimed that Tim Chan was being controlled from the back. So I challenged him (and anyone) to explain how any person could be controlled like that. Your second response is going off in a different direction and trying to 'raise the bar' for me to provide the evidence that the Tim Chan video's are not fake. But you can't be bothered doing any research yourself?

    You extreme 'skeptics' are the one's who say the videos are fake. Most normal people (with untainted eyes and minds) see those videos as proof that Tim Chan is typing his own words. They see them for what they are. You guys are the one's on the fringe that can never be convinced, and yet you can't seem to provide any credible explanation of HOW IT COULD POSSIBLY BE FAKED! You give some wiffle-waffle about the word prediction and the finger placement etc, but you clearly don't know what you're talking about with these issues and it seems you just can't bring yourself to admit that you don't know how it could have been faked, am I right?

    You call yourselves 'skeptics' and scientific, right? But you have a strange belief about these videos which most people don't share. You imagine things which others don't see! Yet you can't provide any credible explanation for your beliefs! That sounds more like 'fanatics' than skeptics, doesn't it?

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    Please don't be naive.  You know that simply watching a video doesn't constitute anything, let alone proof.  I've seen David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear on video, but that doesn't make it true.
    Your second response is going off in a different direction and trying to 'raise the bar' for me to provide the evidence that the Tim Chan video's are not fake. But you can't be bothered doing any research yourself?
    I'm not the one making the claim.  You submitted what you call evidence, so the onus is on you to demonstrate its authenticity.
    Most normal people (with untainted eyes and minds) see those videos as proof that Tim Chan is typing his own words.
    "Most normal people" aren't scientists.  If that's your appeal, then you've already lost. 
    ...you can't seem to provide any credible explanation of HOW IT COULD POSSIBLY BE FAKED! 
    Sure I can.  There is no transcript, so the claims of what is being typed are simply being made up.  There's nothing to fake.  A very simple example would be to see what gets produced when his mother isn't touching his shoulder.
    You give some wiffle-waffle about the word prediction and the finger placement etc...
    "Wiffle-waffle"?  How about the fact that the number of keystrokes and the position of the keys being hit don't correlate to the "words" being generated.
    You imagine things which others don't see! Yet you can't provide any credible explanation for your beliefs!
      
    ...and thus is the fakery exposed.  In short, your appeal to other people's opinions and then expecting me to offer an explanation for why I'm not a believer already speaks volumes.  You are clearly not intereseted in science, nor in actually confirming the science.  Instead you want to rely on the sham of a video that people are simply supposed to believe because you say so?

    I imagine only one thing.  It's a fake and until you demonstrate something much more credible I'll expand that and say that it's a lie. Your responses have been disingenuous and misleading. So spare me the moral outrage.  It's classic snake-oil salesmanship with video.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thanks Gerhard,
    your response is very interesting! Whatever your scientific qualifications you have, you're clearly out of your depth in this area. Thankfully 'normal people aren't scientists' like you! Do you think normal people are so naive to believe that David Copperfield can really make the statue of Liberty disappear? You are so sure that FC is fake, an elaborate hoax like a magic trick, is that right?

    You offer the following explanation, " There is no transcript, so the claims of what is being typed are simply being made up. There's nothing to fake. A very simple example would be to see what gets produced when his mother isn't touching his shoulder."

    Firstly Gerhard, "...the claims of what is being typed ....", do you understand that the Litewriter is a speech generating device? Do you know what a speech generating device is? You can hear the Litewriter in the video. Or are you saying it's overdubbed or something? What are you actually saying, because to me an many others, you just sound like you don't know what you're talking about? So can you actually explain yourself? You say you're a scientist, so you should be able to explain your thoughts about this, right? What are you trying to say?

    Secondly, you say, "A very simple example would be to see what gets produced when his mother isn't touching his shoulder." What are you actually trying to say here Gerhard? I'm wondering if you've any experience or done any reading in this whole issue or if you've just joined the 'skeptics' bandwagon and know nothing about this. Are you saying that if he can't type like this when his mother is touching his shoulder then it's a fake? Are you saying that if he can type like this with another person then it's not a fake? Can you clarify this please?

    James Henry

    Hank
    your response is very interesting! Whatever your scientific qualifications you have, you're clearly out of your depth in this area.
    ha ha ... BOOMSTICK, Gerhard! You must be out of your depth if you can't channel an uncommunicative child, or the dead ghost of Elvis, or whatever.
    Gerhard Adam
     You can quote me all you'd like and you can question all manner of points that I make, but the end result is still the same.

    You're alleging that something is scientific without evidence and then questioning me every time I raise a point regarding its authenticity.  In fact, the irony is that you're sounding increasingly like a "faith-based" pursuit, because that's usually the basis for claiming that I just don't know enough or I just don't have enough faith, etc. 

    Invariably it must be my fault for not seeing what all the "believers" so plainly see.  You seem to not understand the correlation I'm expecting between keystrokes and the verbage of the Lightwriter.  Just in viewing the first few seconds of the video there is a serious disconnect.  If you watch, you'll see there are 14 keystrokes to produce the words "Yes, I use..."  That's problematic. 

    Regarding the word prediction, which you seem to think represents some kind of misunderstanding on my part.  I undertand exactly what it is:
    "Your Lightwriter® will automatically remember the words and phrases you type and how you use them. As you begin to communicate it will predict what you are most likely to enter next, and will display several options on screen to make conversation and typing quicker and easier."
    http://www.toby-churchill.com/en/products/text-speech/keyboard-lightwriters/sl40
     
    You see, that represents a BIG problem.  Since the Lightwriter can't know who used it, then I have to question what is it basing the "usage memory" on?  How do I know that Tim is the only user?
    But, that's the beauty of science.  Science is specifically intended to avoid those kind of issues, because it requires actual evidence.

    I can't say it any plainer than I have.  I think the video is a lie, I think the whole thing is fake, and I think it's a sham.

    Is that clear enough for you?  Do you have any evidence to the contrary or are you going to continue to rail against me as an "unbeliever"?
    What are you actually trying to say here Gerhard? "A very simple example would be to see what gets produced when his mother isn't touching his shoulder."
    I thought I was pretty clear.  What happens when he's left to type without his mother or anyone touching him?  Show me that video and then we'll see if there's something to compare.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    BTW .. the following blog entry is quite interesting for anyone examining the lightwriter's word prediction capabilities.

    For example I created the abbreviation ‘lw’ which will bring up a choice of: the full word ‘Lightwriter’, the sentence ‘This is a Lightwriter, it speaks what I type as I have difficulty speaking’ or ‘You can text my Lightwriter on < reads out number>’
    http://katilea.wordpress.com/about/my-lightwriter-and-aac/

    While I can appreciate the usefulness of such a technical instrument, it provides a strong challenge to any claims that FC is producing viable dialogue.

    Here's another interesting user/example.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgk_Cq3dfEI
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thanks Gerhard, sounds like you've done a little bit more research! I'm actually enjoying this (not at all 'raging') because it's quite fun to help you to make it up as you go along. Responding to some of your points;

    "If you watch, you'll see there are 14 keystrokes to produce the words "Yes, I use..." That's problematic." - Gerhard, why is it problematic? I'm typing this now and I make corrections and change my mind about choice of words - doesn't anyone?

    Gerhard, you say the word prediction "represents a BIG problem". You say, "Since the Lightwriter can't know who used it, then I have to question what is it basing the "usage memory" on? How do I know that Tim is the only user?" Gerhard, so what if he isn't the only user? What actually is your theory? Are you saying that another user actually typed all these words previously and then Tim just accidentally hit the keys that these words came up and then he accidentally selected them...? It doesn't make sense Gerhard... I'm trying to help you mate, but you'll really need to come up with some theory/explanation that actually makes sense.

    Gerhard, you say, "I thought I was pretty clear. What happens when he's left to type without his mother or anyone touching him? Show me that video and then we'll see if there's something to compare." - Gerhard, no, you're not making yourself clear at all! What are you trying to say? Why don't you tell me "what happens..."? Are you saying, that if he can't type like that with his mother touching his shoulder, then it's all fake? Please just clarify, what's your point?

    Gerhard, you say the abbreviation function "provides a strong challenge to any claims that FC is producing viable dialogue." Why, or how does it provide a strong challenge, Gerhard? Once again, what's your theory about this? Are you saying that all those words were programmed in as abbreviations and that Tim just accidentally hit the key strokes for those words and then he accidentally selected them all? Please clarify.

    You also give a youtube video, thanks. But what's your point about this video? What are you trying to tell me? Are you trying to say that Tim's Lightwriter was pre-programmed with all these sentences and he just had to hit the right keys to activate the sentences, like this guy in the video you provide? But you can see the the video of Tim is completely different to the video you're provided! Can you please clarify?

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam

    You are missing the point.  I'm not the one obligated to provide a theory, nor an explanation.  I find the evidence for FC less than compelling and the data provided [i.e. video] suspect.  There are far too many variables that are uncontrolled, and the answers to questions are simply too glib.

    If this is to have any scientific basis, then proper controls are necessary.  As an example, I want to see what Tim types when his mother is present by seeing the actual keyboard [therefore if corrections occur, then I should be able to see them and they are documented].  Secondly, what happens when his mother isn't around.  In other words, does it suddenly degenerate into gibberish or is it still workable?  What happens when a known third party is the "facilitator" versus a stranger?  Without these answers there's no chance of approaching a scientific footing.  If the claim is that only his mother can succeed, then it's already bogus. 

    Word prediction also needs to be demonstrated from the keyboard or from choices made on the screen since it is problematic who the previous user is.  Since the Lightwriter is supposed "learn" how you speak, then it would obviously behave significantly different if I were the primary user, than if someone else were.  Needless to say, that if I were the primary user, then the word prediction would be based on me, not Tim.  So it is significant.

    What actually is your theory? Are you saying that another user actually typed all these words previously and then Tim just accidentally hit the keys that these words came up and then he accidentally selected them...? It doesn't make sense Gerhard... I'm trying to help you mate, but you'll really need to come up with some theory/explanation that actually makes sense.  
     
    Well, let's consider what actually makes sense.  You're proposing that Tim [or individuals with autism in general] is experiencing fully functional and normal brain behavior and thoughts.  The only impediment being suffered is an inability to express himself.  However, how does this impediment get overcome by touching a shoulder?  What is the proposed mechanism?  Why only particular individuals? 

    That's the part that really makes little sense and requires a theory and explanation.



     

    Mundus vult decipi
    Thanks Gerhard,
    now you're thinking and asking some really good questions - "...how does this impediment get overcome by touching a shoulder? What is the proposed mechanism? Why only particular individuals?"

    Great questions, but before we get to that more complex discussion, let me just address your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. I understand your wanting to see video of the keyboard, and we might be able to find a video of that. But you still haven't at all explained your theory of how 'it's fake'. While it's good you're asking questions, eg "what happens when his mother isn't around." what actually is your theory Gerhard? Do you propose that if he can't type like that without a suitably trained facilitator, then the method is bogus? This doesn't make sense Gerhard. Do you know what FC is supposed to be? Have you actually done any reading (apart from extreme skeptics)? If only his mother can do it because only she has the skills and has his trust, does this make it bogus? What do you mean Gerhard? Actually I know that others can facilitate for him to type like this. Perhaps that makes it bogus too?

    Similarly, it seems you're not making much sense about the word prediction. You haven't answered my response about that and you haven't proposed any theory. If you disagree, then why not actually do your research properly about word prediction, before going on like this. Anyone who's ever used a device with word prediction will know you're barking up the wrong tree.

    Your questions about "...how does this impediment get overcome by touching a shoulder? What is the proposed mechanism? Why only particular individuals?" - these are the questions which will lead to more understanding (if people want to be genuinely inquiring and scientific and instead of only seeing what they want to see). Before going into this discussion with you, can I just ask if you have read anything about FC regarding how are why it works (anything not written by skeptic)? If so, what have you read please?

    James

    kwombles
    Patronizing rhetoric is not scientific evidence that your belief in facilitated communication is genuine communication from the user instead of the facilitator. Given the bulk of the research and the critiques of research done by FC peddlers, there is no evidence that FC is anything other than the facilitator co-opting the user.
    You're not helping your case here, merely proving you have no sound scientific evidence that FC works.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Gerhard Adam
    I find it interesting that you're challenging me to articulate a theory.  Do you truly not understand science? 

    You obviously fail to see the fundamental problem with FC and the role of the facilitator.  You're, in effect, arguing that there is a serious disability being experienced by an individual and yet somehow when another individual physical touches them, that this disability appears to disappear.

    Who's got the strange theory here?

    My point about FC being bogus, is that despite all your questions and comments you've made not a single point of explanation as to why it should be expected to work.  I've tried to be as clear as possible.  I think it's fake.  I don't believe abilities appear simply because someone physically touches another person, and I have yet to see a shred  of evidence to suggest otherwise.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hi Kim. Same to you, you're not helping your case either. Why don't you try to respond to any of the points I've raised? Why bother, if you can't engage in any constructive or intelligent discussion?

    Thanks Gerhard,

    so I guess from your answer that you have not read anything about FC regarding how are why it works (anything not written by skeptics)? Is that right? I guess you were too ashamed to admit it, but your failure is clear enough, right?

    You say what I fail to see and what I'm arguing, but what's the basis for all these assumptions about me? Actually you don't know what I see or what I fail to see or what I'm arguing.

    You say, "I find it interesting that you're challenging me to articulate a theory. Do you truly not understand science?" Yes Gerhard, I repeat my challenge to you and any of your fellow skeptics to articulate a theory for 'how the videos have been faked'. You are so sure it's all fake! Bravo! Yet it seems you rely only on other skeptics. Because you haven't read anything which isn't from the skeptics, you can't even say you've heard both sides of the argument!

    You can't even say what it is you're dismissing! How scientific is that? Your 'belief' sounds more like that of a sheep following a flock of other skeptics, than that of an independently thinking open-minded scientist. What sort of scientist are you anyway?

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    I don't need a theory to explain "faked videos" since that is something that has been a capability for years.  No theory required. 

    However, videos are NOT evidence without controls.  There is no study, it is simply anecdotal and hence not scientific.  The simple truth is that no one has proposed an actual experiment to demonstrate what takes place [if anything] and to provide a means by which such a supposed phenomenon can be studied.  Instead, the only thing I hear is the repetition of having to explain how videos can be faked.

    It should be clear that videos can easily be faked and that doesn't constitute evidence of anything.

    In science the ONLY opinion that counts is the skeptics.  They are eliminated with evidence.  You have none, so the only views that one can review are those of the skeptics.  There aren't TWO sides to the argument.  There is only one and it will stand based on evidence not anecdotes.

    So, unless you provide evidence that has the proper controls in place to clearly illustrate that something is occurring that can't be explained by some other means, then you have my attention. 

    ... and no, videos are NOT evidence [not without tight controls]. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    kwombles
    Because you raised no points and intelligent, constructive dialogue with you is not possible.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Thanks Gerhard, very interesting!

    You say, " videos are NOT evidence [not without tight controls]." - Gerhard, these are not videos of alien spacecraft. They are videos of people, which most other normal people (including scientists) will say ARE evidence. I think we'd find that the only people who'd insist that these videos are "NOT evidence" would be the hardcore-extreme FC skeptics like you and Kim.

    You say videos can "easily be faked". But Gerhard, you failed to explain how! Considering there are increasing numbers of videos like this, coming from unconnected individuals in different countries, I guess you'll be thinking of some sort of sophisticated conspiracy theory, is that right? Are you going to explain your conspiracy theory, or will you fail on that too?

    You say, " There aren't TWO sides to the argument. There is only one and it will stand based on evidence not anecdotes." - Wow Gerhard! Of course the other side 'doesn't exist' if you don't look at it and refuse to hear it, right? Are you admitting that you 'only see what you want to see'...? You haven't read anything apart from the skeptics side, so what would you know about the 'other side'?

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    Sorry, but you can twist and turn all you like, but there is only ONE side.  It's the one the evidence points to.  I've told you time and again what I expected to see.  You have done nothing except continue on about videos.

    I've told you, the videos showed me nothing except a voice that is supposedly expressing what is being typed.  I told you the type of detail I would need to see and the type of tests that need to be done.

    If you want to know how easy it is to fake a video like this?  Simply tape the audio track separately from the video one.  It's not rocket science.  Prove that this wasn't done [and no, it is not acceptable to simply take yours or anyone else's word for it].

    Your request for me to produce a theory is silly, since an 8 year old could fake such a video.  You know what the parameters for evidence are.  You either have it or you don't.  If you don't, then you have no claim.
    Of course the other side 'doesn't exist' if you don't look at it and refuse to hear it, right?
    No, that's just being silly.  This isn't a matter of opinion or votes.  It's simple.  Produce the evidence.  If you have none, then you have no "other side".  Any position that cannot stand up to skeptical scrutiny is not scientific evidence.  Every idea, every theory has been criticized to virtually everyone to whom it has been introduced.  Einstein's Relativity, routinely gets all manner of critiques from people claiming to have disproved it.  However, the evidence holds and these people are seen as obvious crackpots.

    So, again ... if you have evidence then it will stand as actual evidence.  Science is not in the business of suppressing information.  However, usually its the fringe elements that complain about how science isn't open-minded or willing to engage in speculative ventures.  That isn't what science does.  It tries to remove the emotional bias and confirmation bias that plagues human efforts.  So, please don't try appeals to a person's honesty, or anecdotal information.  It simply means nothing.  People are more than willing to deceive themselves regarding what they believe works, so I'm not necessarily claiming that all these parents are being dishonest.  However, their testimonies aren't evidence either.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Of course the other side 'doesn't exist' if you don't look at it and refuse to hear it, right? Are you admitting that you 'only see what you want to see'...? You haven't read anything apart from the skeptics side, so what would you know about the 'other side'?
    Are you saying you have peer-reviewed scientific papers to read?  If so, by all means, post the links.

    However, just to be clear here so we don't keep going round and round on this.

    The current position is that FC doesn't work.  There is no science to support it working.

    Now, you come along with an alternative view.  It is incumbent on you to demonstrate that the current explanation is incorrect, present a hypothesis that can be examined and tested by others, and to offer evidence as to why your hypothesis offers a better explanation than currently exists.

    It is important that this be repeatable and provide evidence that isn't subject to being tampered with, misinterpreted, or misrepresented.  This doesn't mean that everyone is a liar or being deceptive, it just ensures that no bias, intentional or otherwise, is accidently introduced into the experiment.

    Part of the reason for the details regarding controls is to ensure that others can replicate your results, but also so that the methodology can be examined to ensure that it didn't have flaws or errors in it.

    So, it should be clear that unverified videos are out.  YouTube is not evidence. 

    If you want something more specific, here's a few points:

    (1)  Describe some activity that the person enjoys doing (with facilitator).
    (2)  Same activity without facilitator.
    (3)  Switch out the lightscribe devices [i.e. brand new never used] and repeat 1&2
    (4)  Repeat with different facilitator
    (5)  Repeat with different individual but not experienced as facilitator

    All information should be captured by computer and should include:  keystrokes, errors, machine corrections/predictive word usage, finger placement, etc.  [note, I'm assuming a Lightscribe would be used].

    Those are just some off-the-cuff ideas of how such a test should proceed.  I'm sure a more thorough consideration could come up with better ideas.

    Note that this would result in the same "essay" being done about eight times. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thanks Gerhard,
    you obviously didn't bother to look up the links that Chris offered you, did you?. Would you actually read a peer reviewed study? To do so might interfere with your view that "there is only ONE side".

    Thanks for offering up another theory about the videos! You say, "If you want to know how easy it is to fake a video like this? Simply tape the audio track separately from the video one. It's not rocket science..."

    Gerhard, it makes me wonder if you actually did watch the videos as you say you did. The conversations and background sounds were all recorded separately were they??? You can see many similar videos and apparently they've all got fake audio tracks, right? It sounds like you're still into the conspiracy theory. Pretty weird stuff!

    Personally, Gerhard, I don't care if you can't bring yourself to actually look at the videos or read anything or look at the other side (the side you say 'doesn't exist'), it really doesn't worry me at all. I accept that some people have extremely fixed ideas about some things and they can't be changed. I'm just interested in how you, as an extreme-FC skeptic, will got to extreme lengths to deny the evidence of the videos.

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    Oh please.  Stop the bullshit.  You know as well as I do, that there are no controls nor measurements being done in these videos.  I personally don't care if you think they're proof of aliens on earth, but stop pretending as if this is science.

    This is anecdotal at best, and faked hearsay at worst.

    You truly aren't that naive as to think that a video settles anything.  There is a video of JFK getting shot in Dallas, and that has been scrutinized ten million different ways because people aren't convinced the video evidence is solid enough.  You expect me to take something like this as evidence when I know none of the people involved, and have no one that is even remotely interested in trying to measure or validate what is happening?  I should just take your word for it?

    As far as there being "another side".  Now again, you're just being silly.  Both sides can't be right, therefore evidence is the determining factor.  Since you haven't provided any, and insist that I should just accept hearsay, then at this point, you're the one that doesn't have any evidence.

    There's no rational reason to believe FC works, so unless you come up with objective demonstrable [and repeatable] proof, then it's simply bullshit.  No amount of insistence that I should trust people is going to change that, except actual evidence.

    So, stop pretending as if I'm the one at fault here.  I've asked you repeatedly for evidence and you offer nothing. 

    As for Chris's links?  You've got to be joking.  It's a site that he's personally affiliated with and it's supposedly a testimony written by FC.  Yeah ... that's proof.  I don't want people making claims and then offering their own websites as proof of what they say. 

    I will say it again.  I don't believe Chris' website.  I don't believe that Anne McDonald wrote the piece shown there, and I have no problem in claiming that this is a lie and a fake.  Now, if someone has REAL evidence to the contrary I'd love to see it, but from my vantage point, it's just more bullshit.

    I provided a list of basic conditions I wanted to see met.  I you can't deliver, then you aren't interested in providing scientific evidence.  My requirements weren't even particularly stringent, since they were just made off the cuff.  However, if that is too onerous, then go away, because you're just trying to promote nonsense.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thanks Gerhard,

    for the demonstration of your

    1) inability to respond intelligently to the videos,

    2) increasingly silly and aggressive responses to being asked to think about the videos - how many times can you say "Bullshit", "Fake", "Lie", etc, etc??? Is this the language of 'science'?

    3) rigid thinking and passionately extreme views about something you have no experience with.

    It's so much fun having you spit the dummy! What more can you say to keep us entertained?

    What about this Italian study? "Results from the largest ever research project on Facilitated Communication Training were published late last year."

    http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/statistical-analysis-of-te...

    http://www.intechopen.com/books/a-comprehensive-book-on-autism-spectrum-...

    James Henry

    Gerhard Adam
    It's pretty obvious that you have no evidence of any kind beyond the lame videos you keep pointing to.  I've told you the basic criteria that have to be met and you can't produce any data.

    There's nothing further to say.  There's nothing scientific about accepting anecdotal information.  If you don't understand that, then you're attempting to discuss things that are simply beyond you.
    Is this the language of 'science'?
    No need, since you've elected to not provide any scientific data.  I've responded in the only way typically understood by those peddling an agenda.
    Mundus vult decipi