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    Facilitated Communication: Bandwagon Endorsements; It All Feels Good
    By Kim Wombles | April 4th 2011 08:10 PM | 99 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
    In the autism world, feel-good stories really don't come along all that long often, and heartwarming stories about severely impaired individuals all of a sudden speaking out in perfect English through the use of dedicated facilitators are uplifting stories. We want to believe that miracles happen, that geniuses exist inside nonverbal severely disabled people, just waiting for the chance to shine through the noble efforts of a selfless facilitator. 


    Videos and stories of individuals suddenly communicating make their ways around the autism community, and while it is possible that great progress can be made and that nonverbal individuals can independently communicate through the use of alternative technologies, the reality is that there are many, many cases of communication by the disabled individual being co-opted by the facilitator.

    new documentaryWretches and Jabberers, is getting a lot of play in the autism community. The Autism Society is promoting the documentary and will receive a portion of the proceeds. It's a win-win for everyone and everything except the truth.

    Facilitated communication*, defined by Biklen as involving "hand-over-hand or hand-on-forearm support of students as they point to pictures, letters or objects to augment communication" has absolutely no credibility in the medical, psychological, and scientific communities. It has been thoroughly and completely debunked, although much like the fervor that the anti-vaccine people hold onto their quack theories, so too do facilitated communication supporters. It plays to the deep wishes of parents and caregivers that if only the right tools are made available, the voices of the disabled will be heard. 

    But here's what's really offensive: facilitated communication has been shown to be facilitator co-option of the communication. Some of these disabled individuals have limited speech, actual speech, and yet they continue to receive facilitation. Some of these individuals demonstrate good fine motor skills and would have absolutely NO problems typing, so why are these facilitators cupping the elbows of the clients? Why are they anywhere near them given what's been shown about FC? Our greatest responsibility as caregivers is to safeguard those in our care. Stealing their voices and their identities is a horrible thing to do, and even at  the risk of doing so, it should be all the more imperative to do everything to ensure their words are truly their own.


     Can someone explain why a man who has the fine motor skills  to paint needs someone holding onto him to type?

     





     Note the cupping and note when the individual isn't even looking at the screen.


    Listen to the speech. If you can talk, even if it's limited, why is someone typing for you?

    True disability rights advocates committed to the autonomy and self-determination of the disabled must come down squarely on the side of the science and decry the use of facilitated communication and rapid prompting method. They should be fiercely devoted to making sure that those without voices do not have words put in their mouths.

    I have no doubt that significantly impaired individuals can communicate through the use of adaptive technologies, none at all, and I believe that every effort should be made to provide them with the equipment and the training to make sure that no one puts words in their mouths.

    The New York Times reviews the film and notes, "The film is maddeningly vague about how the two men made their initial breakthroughs, but it certainly is proof that even those who are written off as children can find a voice."  It's imperative that we make sure they're truly communicating, not the facilitator instead. Miriam Rinn offers a review of the documentary that quickly hones in on the problems in the documentary (and the problems with facilitated communication). Rinn points out a number of interesting concerns:
      "Director Gerardine Wurzburg doesn’t explain why Tracy cannot live independently or find a permanent residence."
      "It doesn’t explain why Larry and Tracy need anyone to guide their hands, yet we always see their assistants right next to them, often holding an elbow or a forearm."
      "After all, if Larry can make coffee in the morning and paint in the afternoon (he’s an artist), why can’t he manage a keyboard or some other speech-augmenting device?"
      "[W]e hear them “say” the same things over and over."
      "The men don’t seem to have much to say about the different sights and sounds and foods they are experiencing, even though you’d expect a place like Thailand to seem very strange to a Vermonter."

    James Todd, who has extensive experience relating to facilitated communication, offered the following comment at Rinn's review (reproduced here with permission):

    Ms. Rinn: 

    Thank you for your frank and informative review of "Wretches and Jabberers," the latest installment in the facilitated communication (FC) pseudoscience propaganda juggernaut. 

    I have met and interacted on multiple occasions with several of the people in the movie, including the main characters. These experiences include having lunch sitting next to Larry Bissonnette, as well as many hours of FC "training" featuring Tracy Thresher, Harvey Lavoy (Thresher's facilitator), Larry Bissonnette, Pascal Cheng (Bissonnette's facilitator), Chammi Rajapatirana, and mother (also his facilitator). 

    My observations are consistent with your suspicions. I have seen nothing in anything they did to suggest that the typed communications are genuine. What I saw was facilitators controlling the typing. I don't think I just saw what I wanted to see--unless we are to believe that Mr. Rajapatirana, for instance, can type meaningfully while standing up, looking away from the keyboard, and trying to pull his wrist from his mother's grip. Tracy Thresher is perhaps more amazing, being able to type about a video on a screen not visible from his vantage point, but visible to his facilitator. Larry BIssonnette, for his part, seems a very nice man, and not without talents. But when his facilitator was absent, he answered every question with apparently random word repetitions and nodding assent, whether assent was called for or not. Of course, even though every one of these facilitators admits that facilitator control is a problem, none of them seems interested in subjecting their own extraordinary claims to objective testing. They been directly challenged. Apparently, facilitator control only happens to other people. 

    James Randi FC challenge: http://tinyurl.com/arkag 
    James Randi "Cruel Farce": http://tinyurl.com/yal738a 

    A question you might ask is why the Autism Society, which is supposedly in the business of promoting the well-being of people affected by autism, is advertising and profiting from a movie about the single most discredited intervention in the history of developmental disabilities. FC is a technique for which there is not yet, after 30 years, even one methodologically sound, peer-reviewed, objective demonstration of reliability. Dozens of published scientific studies show how and why FC fails. Facilitated Communication is a method which has, tragically, produced more imprisonments due to false accusations of rape than credible scientific demonstrations of effectiveness--the latter number being zero. Shouldn't the Autism Society know better? Shouldn't it be warning people? A note on Autism Society website may explain it all: 

    "Through the generosity of AMC and Wretches&Jabberers the Autism Society receives 10% of ticket sales." 

    http://tinyurl.com/3ntevj5 

    James T. Todd, Ph.D. 
    Eastern Michigan University

    *Once again, I must remind readers that I am not talking about the routine hand-over--hand initial teaching we usually engage in with our children, where supports are gradually removed as the child masters the skill sets being worked on. In facilitated communication, there is no learning curve: communication is instantaneous and advanced and believed to be the communication of the disabled individual alone.

    Nor am I talking about individuals who type independently.








    Comments

    I suspect you will find, Tom Smith and some of the usual suspects eventually beating a path to this blog.

    Apart from anything else it is un PC in the autistic world to be sceptical about certain sacred cows.

    What SHOULD be studied are those individuals who go on to type independently. They are few and far between, but they are there. How long did it take? (Days, months, years?) How was it done? What was the cost? What is the payoff? Richard says a little here, on Kev's blog, http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/10/facilitated-communication-where...

    Let them tell the story. They stand between the camps.

    What you fail to recognize, rosabw, is that there exists not a single individual who has become an independent communicator via FC. NONE of them "go on to type independently". This is a common response from the frauds who support FC. It also is a common reply of the misled public who believe in this snake oil. FC, Crossely, Biklen, and their ilk are not victims. You insinuate that science is ignoring some of the facts. Clearly you do not understand science.

    Larry Arnold
    Puts his head above the parapet and types :

    Interesting question. I was not aware that "wretches and jabberers" was a product of the Biklen stable, but Biklen is not someone I trust.

    There are alternatives to physical contact with a keyboard, all manner of devices and microswitches that use scanning. My mum was able to use one of these to type but she found it rather tedious, she would sooner ask me to write a draft of something and correct it herself.

    That's a rather different situation there however as my mum could dictate effectively.

    I have written elsewhere about augmentative communication, and the danger is that there are people in the world who confuse the two and regard anybody who does not speak directly as suspect given that oracy still has some degree of primacy over literacy.

    It gets even more difficult if I were to pronounce that what is portrayed as an autistic difficulty might not be any such at all, in respect to motor control, and all this stuff about uncontrollable bodies doesn't chime with the mainstream and majority description of autism.

    Except of course that would be hypocritical of me to state that because whether it is Tourette's or Dr Strangelove's disorder, I have these hands that often seem to possess a life of there own. It's a curious paradox of course that they will happily facilitate the playing of my flute, but the moment the hands are off they shake like the proverbial things that shake, a phenomenon not unknown to musicians.

    Base line however, if you cannot type without some support, there are alternative means of input than keyboard and the use of these would if employed resolve the situation. I would sooner use something tedious like my mum did in her latter days, than have somebody support my hand and leave the matter open to dispute. I'd like to see why other alternatives that would decrease reliance used, and am suspicious as to why they are not.
    kwombles
    Thanks; I agree there are absolutely other ways to ensure communication; I wrote about alternatives after I wrote my first piece on FC. 
    I think it's very important to do everything to safeguard individuals' communication and ensure that they are not being exploited. And I suspect that one could argue that there is some level of exploitation here.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Mr. Cheezem:

    I think you're at the point of having proven you know precisely what Kim meant with her questions about, for instance, Mr. Bissonnette's fine motor control, but continuing to argue for reasons that have little to do with the substance of the issue. I am not sure that is the best position to be in.

    Do you have something substantive to add to the discussion of this pretty basic issue, that there's this movie out there promoting the fraudulent exploitation of people with autism?

    What about my part of the posting? Argue with me for a while.

    Jim

    Here I am again.

    It's just a commercial for F.C., and I've no desire to see it, and you are probably correct in your assumption that most of it is comparable to the endless stream of money-grabbing cures.

    Yet, Science gives us ABA, and I find no solice in that..

    solace...:D:> I'm so ashamed....

    kwombles
    :-) 
    It seems to me to be such a shame that in the last two years, other than Temple's film, the documentaries that have come out on autism have either promoted facilitated communication or rapid prompting method. We have one story where hard work by the people involved in Temple's life, especially Temple herself, led to a true success story: an independent, strong, capable woman who overcame or found ways around her issues, and then two where autistic individuals' autonomy and voices (however communication can be offered) are co-opted in the need to push facilitated communication and its stepsister, rapid prompting method. Even Temple's appearance and other autism experts in last year's "A Mother's Courage" isn't enough to redeem it. And yet, there again, there was little criticism of it. In a month on autism awareness, the film's emphasis was not on autistic individuals but on "heroic" parents.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    I had to look up "A Mother's courage". I kinda live in my own little world!

    The answer may not be FC, but it's there to fill a void. A big-ass gaping void.

    And it suggests competence of the handicapped individual, while in the real world, in the world of education from my experience...the opposite is true. Right direction, wrong vehicle, perhaps. I"m sure there is an expression about good intentions that would fit here.

    Yet I know, even with my son who has always had language, echolalic up until grade 4...I know there is lot that goes on up there, that he can't or won't express. Like it would kill him to give out personal information. I think he thinks talking about his feelings is like Crazy Horse's ideas about being photographed. He thinks giving away his thoughts will lead to his soul being captured. Parents whose children never talk must know unimaginable frustration, and I can't blame them for trying.

    False hope is better than none at all.

    But best, I think, is to keep digging until you find that fragile string that ties two hearts, mother and child, together--Acceptance.

    I'm not sure I could have ever accepted it, though, if Ben never spoke. Maybe it's a way of keeping sanity for the parents, as crazy as that sounds.

    I've been up since 1 this morning, worrying about what I'd write here, but I feel compelled to write something.

    So, there ya go!

    Take care, dear....Rose

    kwombles
    Thanks, Rose. I'm sorry you've been up worrying about to write here. If communication from our children is our focus, then however that communication occurs should be fine, although I understand the despair at the thought that our child will never talk. 
    I think that there is always hope of improvement and growth, and I'd rather have the reality than false hope. I would hate more than anything to be convinced by a charlatan that my child was communicating with me only to realize one day it was all an elaborate con. I would hate to think of my child being aware of the situation, trapped and unable to communicate that the person facilitating was falsely communicating his or her words and thoughts.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    I am reserving judgment on the film until I see it myself, but I share your concerns about facilitated communication. However, I also see evidence here of the tendency on your part to have difficulty understanding the communicative problems that people with autism face. You ask "Can someone explain why a man who has the fine motor skills to paint needs someone holding onto him to type?" You seem not to understand that the issue is with communication, not with fine motor skills. You also seem not to support the choice of people with limited speech to choose to use AAC. I suggest you watch this video if you truly do not understand this decision: http://thautcast.com/drupal5/content/meet-lance

    kwombles
    You're wrong; if you'd read any of my other pieces on facilitated communication and AAC, you'd see that I strongly support AAC. I am absolutely not in favor of anything that robs a person of his own communication, which is what FC does.
    And you either intentionally or not misunderstand that question. I do understand that communication issues are a part of autism.  And someone HOLDING onto the person to get them to type is absolutely the vital part of this post, which if you weren't determined to decide I don't understand the issues that autism entails might not continue to be missed by you. But perhaps that error is a function of your communication issues and I should bear that in mind when evaluating the intent of your comments.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Kim,

    If you actually understood the impairment was in communication, not just fine motor skills, you would not have written this sentence: "Can someone explain why a man who has the fine motor skills to paint needs someone holding onto him to type?"

    It's very nice that you support AAC elsewhere. It does not excuse reducing it to a footnote here.

    kwombles
    Landon,   If you actually understood that the issue here is facilitated communication and that the question is in relation to someone making him type, well, then you'd be on the right track. I'm under no obligation to tailor my pieces to suit your demands and a piece on facilitated communication does not require me to discuss AAC: FC is not AAC. 

      Since you've been very insistent that you have a communication impairment and that I should factor that in when dealing with you, let me suggest to you that your continued insistence on telling me what I do and do not understand is not welcomed and not appreciated. 

    I've found with my three children on the spectrum that when I break down social rules and ways of navigating discussions with others that once they've had someone tell them what they've said is unwelcomed, it's in their best interest to cease to push the point. In addition, I work hard to teach them that it's entirely appropriate to express one's beliefs, but not appropriate to push those beliefs on another.

     Autism may involve communication impairments, but it's never a justification for being consistently rude. When we allow the impairments to be an excuse for not learning and improving, well, that's just not a winning solution, is it? They have to live in the real world and navigate the real world, and while we might work hard for acceptance and accommodation, the reality is that accommodation involves everyone, both society in general and autistic individuals, as well, as we work to create a society that accepts neurodiversity, as we work to be more compassionate of differences. There's a  limit, though, to what behaviors will be acceptable in society, and it's unrealistic to think that all behavior will be okay. I can't help but notice that there's a segment of the community who wants a free pass, and I don't care who they are, that isn't going to happen, nor should it.

     But back to this particular article. I find it interesting that you ignore Dr. Todd's part entirely and fascinating that you nitpick one sentence in my piece. Obviously you do not share my concerns with FC or you wouldn't be insisting that the man needing to be held to type was a communication impairment when it's been shown that FC is not the communication of the individual. 

      Your commitment to pushing your insistence that autism is a communication impairment that I simply don't understand is no excuse for backhandedly supporting FC, which is what you're doing with these comments, and by extension, supporting the exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

    Thank you, but I believe that this discussion is over. You're welcome to take the last word, though.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [k.wom say] Can someone explain why a man who has the fine motor skills to paint needs someone holding onto him to type?
    have you asked the man...perhaps you should

    [k.wom say] Note the cupping and note when the individual isn't even looking at the screen.

    note: ray charles/stevie wonder have never saw/seen a keyboard...oh/and, typist dont look at the keyboard...
    you are on the wrong side of history and observable science...do you know anyone who who uses FC,,,can you explain the inate ability some/many/most on the spectrum have (eg, to spell, name classical music composers) w/o any formal education...

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Stanley, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder have nothing to do with facilitated communication, and I doubt you even buy that argument. There's a big difference between independent communication and facilitated communication, and I think you know that perfectly well, too.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Nature abhors a vacuum, science has few, if any answers, and psychology has not that long ago left the dark ages ...
    (Bruno Bettlehiem). It's wonderful to be poking around, but lets let Science redeem itself by coming up with something better. I used to pour over Pub-Med, with my lack of knowledge. A lot of info is recycled or biased. Or wacked. We need better minds or the woo will multiply,

    Miss Kim, I have no idea what reality is with my son...I can't predict the future, and that's the reality I want to visit, to know he'll be okay. The more I learn from adults, the more at ease I become

    I've figured out WHY I couldn't sleep. I have for years held on to a belief that a child in my PMD (Profoundly Mentally Disabled) classroom 5 years ago was of fairly normal intellect. I, too, felt her hand directing me to circle the correct answer on a paper. She took testing, and to this day I don't know if I wanted her to do well so I somehow cued her in to the correct answers (clever hans) or if she really did choose them. Did I give her the benefit of the doubt when her hand slipped passed the correct card? She sat with her wheelchair desk, slapping one of the three cards that held the answer. Her musculature control was wild...she often flipped them off or slid them off the table. I will always remember the ones she missed. She felt the skin pumped blood through the body...and a person used a backpack to go shopping, which she would, the one on the back of her wheelchair. But I KNOW how difficult it can be to read intentions, and how easy it is to give a child every benefit of the doubt. When FC is discussed, I see myself in it, and wonder if I've been a guppy, if wishing didn't make it so. It makes me doubt myself, and that's a hard thing to do when one has so much emotion/belief invested in it. I'll never know.

    I gotta get to bed. Hope you are feeling better. Excuse spelling/grammar errors. I'm sure you get my drift! Rose

    kwombles
    Oh, Rose, I do get the drift, and I understand. Teaching Bobby was like that; it was so hard to back up and off and let him do the work on his own, entirely on his own, and way too easy to give him that benefit of the doubt. As long as every work sheet, every problem, every story, was done together, his competence level was inflated compared to what standardized testing demonstrated he could do on his own. I'd get frustrated; I knew he knew these things, but he'd be unable to demonstrate it in other contexts (same thing happened with my girls). It took me some time to recognize that it doesn't matter if it's known in one domain; what matters is whether the skill can be demonstrated across domains. Until it can be, then the skill cannot be said to have been mastered.
    And the only way for my children to learn is to do it themselves, to practice, to work hard to overcome their impairments.  And they do; Bobby's progress as we've worked to increase his autonomy and support the acquisition of new skills, has been wonderful to see. Even more important is that the success becomes an internal motivator; he wants to build on that success and he knows, because it's all been his effort, that he can.

    I'm off to the walk in clinic this morning; maybe I'll be feeling better after some meds. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Kim--I tend to agree. Hard work gives life meaning. This, my son knows. I am a beligerant mother. Just ask him.

    I'm talking about a young girl who had no language, no ability to control her severe, spastic cerebral palsy. Holding her head up every day was harder work than most of us ever see in a day. The intelligence I felt I saw in her, according to critics, was a figment of my imagination.

    I find that hard to swallow. I'm sorry, but I do.

    No need to answer. I can see you might be busy soon. Rose

    kwombles
    Rose,
    I don't know what the "might be busy soon" refers to; I did get meds, though. I have strep.

    You know, the criticism of FC isn't that the disabled individuals lack the intelligence; the criticism is of facilitator co-option of the disabled's individual voice.

     Further, the value of a person is independent of the perceived intelligence. Or it should be. That young girl's worth and value exist outside her ability to use language, Rose, or to perform academically.

    In the end, what matters is not what we as parents or educators want; what matters is the individual: respecting and valuing each person regardless of the functional level. We need to work harder to get people to recognize this innate value so that we meet the disabled individual where she or he is.

    Safeguarding and protecting the most vulnerable from exploitation and abuse is one of the most important things we can do. Too many individuals have been hurt by the use of FC. There are other alternatives to FC that avoid facilitator co-option. That's the bottom line. There are other ways that safeguard the individual. We should use those other ways.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    I meant that you would soon have more visitors commenting.

    Thanks, what you said was very beautiful, and true. Rose

    [KWombles say] Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder have nothing to do with facilitated communication, and I doubt you even buy that argument. There's a big difference between independent communication and facilitated communication, and I think you know that perfectly well, too.

    COMMENT
    they have everything do with, is looking at the screen or keyboard necessary...

    the POINT one doesnt have to look at the keyboard or the screen...to type or play...perhaps i missed your point in bringing up: "the individual isn't even looking at the screen."

    stanley seigler

    Rose,

    My 39 year-old son Ben has never really spoken, so his use of Facilitated Communication for the past 18 years is a very significant matter.

    I just "discovered" this blog today, thanks to the message of Stanley Seigler posted to another group. Now, I will be away from my computer for over a day but I will try to post more then.

    Arthur Golden

    kwombles
    And yet you've not independently verified the communication is from your son, have you? It's significant to you; it's significant to him, especially if they're your words, not his, and he's aware of the co-option. How horrible would that be? To be trapped inside, as so many FC promoters insist: that the autistic individual is trapped inside a body he simply can't control, but is completely aware and has no intellectual disability, and then to have people come along and put words in their mouths, so to speak?
    Defending, as you and Stanley do, facilitated communication, may make you feel better about your children's disabilities, but you miss the point. It shouldn't be about you and what you need and want. It should be about safeguarding, protecting and honoring the individual regardless of his or her functional level. By using facilitated communication, even after twenty plus years of research showing its ineffectiveness, you're engaging in wishful thinking at the expense of the individuals being facilitated.

    To fail to see the humanity and the value in individuals for their simple existence, regardless of their ability to communicate through language is awful. I don't expect either one of you to agree with that; you've held onto this for too long and the need to self-justify your behavior is too great.

    That doesn't mean I'm not going to continue to write about FC. Your anecdotes in the face of evidence and your lack of willingness to really put your children's independent communication to the test attest to the veracity of your claims.

     You should not assume you have a blanket freedom to come here and post repeatedly. You want the license to make your claims at length over and over and over? You've got your own outlets for doing that.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kwombles say] To fail to see the humanity and the value in individuals for their simple existence, regardless of their ability to communicate through language is awful. I don't expect either one of you to agree with that; you've held onto this for too long and the need to self-justify your behavior is too great.

    COMMENT
    wrong on all counts...i do see the humanity, compassion, in my daughter's simple (actually not so simple) existence...

    she has my unconditional love...she is my spoiled only child and teacher...nothing what so ever to her ability to communicate or not...actually she has limited FC communications...

    i have no need to self-justify any behavior...what behavior do you wrongly feel i have a need to justify...

    oft wondered why you are on an anti-FC crusade...perhaps you provided a clue...you seem to have a misplaced need to protect children from parents who fail to love them if they cant communicate...what convoluted bs.

    if not this then what is your motivation...maybe the need to justify what you have been taught and teach...it does need to be justified...

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Stanley,
    I find it interesting the people who can be pro-science about things like vaccines and autism and yet stand firm for pseudoscience in other areas relating to autism. Your consistent need to comment on my fc posts, your need to alert the cavalry to comment here, is no different than the anti-vaccine crowd's need to rally the troops to make sure no one misses the point that they know vaccines did it. Your belief in FC is no less based in wishful thinking than their beliefs.

    You fail to argue against my points and instead employ strawman arguments to further your need to convince others that FC is valid. Let me say it again where you maybe you won't miss it: people dedicated to the rights of the disabled, to those most vulnerable to exploitation, must support an ethical structure that does not allow for the use of debunked therapies and modalities in relation to the disabled. Failure to safeguard the most vulnerable from having their communication co-opted, especially where there is clear indications that the knowledge base regarding FC is there, is unacceptable. If one supports the pursuit of scientifically-sound information and the ethical treatment of those who are nonverbal, then one cannot support facilitated communication.

    The problem isn't with what I've "been taught and teach," but with those who support the insupportable.

    I'm gonna call the need to stand up against people who take advantage of families who are struggling and desperately want their child to communicate piranhas of the worst sort, and those who would exploit and use autistic adults to further their own agendas and living no better than the first group. It's not misguided, and it's not "convoluted bs" either.


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kwombles say] I find it interesting the people who can be pro-science about things like vaccines and autism and yet stand firm for pseudoscience in other areas relating to autism.

    COMMENT
    VERRRRY interesting people tend to use promotional (poorly degned test) science to prove/disprove their crusade/point...see ms dawson's autism-ABA promotional science...which btw is the same science you-etal use to call FC snake oil...you do much harm.

    still dont understand yo anti-FC crusade...unless

    [kwombles say] "I'm gonna call the need to stand up against people who take advantage of families who are struggling and desperately want their child to communicate piranhas of the worst sort"...sooo;

    you believe parents who sons/daughters use FC are the people who take advantage of others families are piranhas of the worst sort...

    do you believe sue rubins parent(rita/bob) and for that matter me (and other parents) are piranhas of the worst kind...if not;

    who do you believes justifies your crusade...to condemn many on the spectrum to a silent fortress.

    btw

    [kwombles say] to make sure no one misses the point that they know vaccines did it.

    p-poor analogy...chemistry (VAXs) v psychology (FC)...not an issue here but for the record...i do not believe VAXs cause autism...but true scientist would not accept it as a 100% fact...as some believe it 100% FC is snake oil.

    [kwombles say] The problem isn't with what I've "been taught and teach," but with those who support the insupportable

    all who use FC support it...if it's not about what you have been taught/teach...as ask, then is your crusade to prevent parents from insisting their child communicate or they wont be loved...as said, so much convoluter bs.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    You're incoherent and I'm not wading through that incoherence. You should assume that my lack of response to your comments in the future signals my dissent with your belief system.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [james todd say] communication is instantaneous and advanced and believed to be the communication of the disabled individual alone.

    COMMENT
    tho communication is instantaneous and advanced in some case (it is also true where FC is not involved)...most FC is a learning process where spelling, sentence structure, improve with practice.

    much of the initial FC hard copy is similar to that of the goodwins' 60s talking typewriter...see clips below (very interesting).

    some move to independent typing...other don’t. tho some who type independently say they feel more comfortable with a facilitator.

    stanley seigler

    NYT clips

    http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/QEqgTcWK683Sk58fWHOuT6UjtsRuBM46rKZxMctiEss... (if link doesn't work and if interested i can email link)

    Talking typewriter = Edison Responsive Environment = E.R.E.

    NYT 9may65 by maya pines

    ...inside the booth, she was a very relaxed, gay little girl; outside the booth she seemed very withdrawn...

    ...I [Dr Mary Goodwin] thought here was surely something that ought to be tried with autistic children...

    ...a 6-year-old boy [jackie]with an unusually severe disturbance was brought to the hospital clinic. he had been excluded from his school because he was unmanageable. completely withdrawn, jackie spoke only gibberish and often flew into tantrums, beating his head against the floor. Dr. Goodwin characterized jackie as autistic.

    ...three psychiatrists and two psychologists had diagnosed jackie as autistic...

    ...Dr Goodwin recalls jackie's first encounter with E.R.E.: [...] during the next half hour, without anybody inn the booth with him he typed about 20 lines of apparently random letters de, some of which recognizable words: ivory liquid, Clorox, arrid deodorint, mr clean and other brand names from tv commercials. he was completely absorbed in what he was doing.

    ...we really didn't know what we had here, she says, except that it was very interesting...

    ...in the next occasion jackie said "want to type" he continued to two or three times a week...once he played with the carriage return, and then in the middle of the blank page he carefully centered the following three words: BOXED, TAPED, WARPED

    within two months of jackie's first typing lesson his father reported the boy had far fewer temper tantrums. jackie was also beginning to show some interest in the child next door, whom he had previously ignored...

    ...he has now paid nearly 70 visits to the laboratory. during this time he has changed from a non communicating, wild looking, often violent child to one who for long periods seems perfectly normal. although he is still far from well and his improvement may be only temporary, he is no longer a candidate for the state hospital...

    ...the rapid change in his behavior is particularly striking since most of the other methods used to reach such autistic children have involved prolonged, round-the-clock relationships with therapists.

    ...Dr Goodwin says, something perfectly extraordinary has been going on in front of our eyes and she has presented her clinical reports before two medical groups...

    ...one boy of 14, a nearly mute schizophrenic who had failed to improve during 10 years of intensive psychiatric care, began to type, sing and talk when left alone with the E.R.E. he acted out an incident which according to his records happened to him when he was 2-1/2. after 15 hours with the E.R.E. he had improved to the extent that he was able to reply, when [saved to here] asked where he was going, "to cooperstown, to read a book."

    1. Ms. Kim Wombles at "04/08/11 at 10:16 AM," 23 minutes after my very short comment without any real substantive statements, posted a very long comment in direct response to me, starting with the sentence:

    "And yet you've not independently verified the communication is from your son, have you?"

    She then goes on assuming her own answer to her own question is correct.

    2. However, her answer quoted above, based on her own presumptions and not the reality based on the real facts, is wrong. It would have been better if Ms. Wombles had been patient and waited over a day unitl I had the opportunity to get back to my computer and had time to think about what I did beginning 18 years ago when my son Ben, on his own initiative started to do Facilitated Communication (FC) when his private school was trying to get him to type independently. At that time my son Ben started to do FC with minimal support at his elbow, which his school staff tried to fade but Ben refused. With support at his elbow, Ben could type about 10 letters a minute.

    3. For anyone interested in real facts, and not the presumptions of Ms. Wombles which are wrong, when my son Ben at age 21 started to do FC in April, 1993, I, in cooperation with our LEA, immediately in the spring and summer of 1993, arranged for appropriate professionals to do testing that "independently verified the communication is from my son." If anyone had asked this question before, I would have given this answer. So thank you Ms. Wombles for asking this question now and giving me the opportunity to state the real facts so you and others will no longer wrongly presume otherwise.

    4. Then after my son insisted a year later in late April 1994 to hold my hand so he could FC with me over 20 times faster and start to make requests about his future, within days at Ben's initiative, his FC was tested in just one session on May 3, 1994 by Dr. Howard Shane at the Children's Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Then in August 1994, we arranged to have his FC tested by an FC expert in Israel, who saw Ben 5 times over a 10 day period.

    5. Of all the professionals who tested Ben's FC during this early period of his FC over a period of 1-1/2 years, only Dr. Howard Shane could not validate his FC. It should be noted that in the debreifing right after his testing, Dr. Shane privately told me that "unless [one major variable not considered in his testing was present]" that Ben was not the author of the FC. I immediately told Dr. Shane that Ben told me that this one major variable was present, as I documented in a letter I sent him within a couple of days. Considering this major flaw in the testing of Dr. Shane, I tried to arrange a retesting but eventually I received the several page report from Dr. Shane which failed to mention this one major variable.

    6. At this point, I must get ready to go out, so I cannot explain further. However, I think I wrote enough that Ms. Wombles should reconsider what she wrote 1-1/2 days ago based on her false presumptions and should directly reply to me based on the real facts.

    Arthur Golden

    7. I have had some time to continue my comment posted several hours ago, which requires me to carefully check the real facts ( a process that can be very time-consuming). To start with, I would like to note that Eastern Michigan University Professor James Todd wrote last week:

    "...Tracy Thresher, Harvey Lavoy (Thresher's facilitator), Larry Bissonnette, Pascal Cheng (Bissonnette's facilitator), Chammi Rajapatirana, and mother (also his facilitator)...Of course, even though every one of these facilitators admits that facilitator control is a problem, none of them seems interested in subjecting their own extraordinary claims to objective testing. They been directly challenged."

    8. Also last week I discovered a list of Master Trainers of Facilitated Communication, of which there are only 18 in the world but all 3 of the facilitators named by Professor Todd are on this list.

    9. Although I am not a Master Trainer, I have been directly challenged by James Todd one year ago in a comment he made to the blog of Ms. Liz Ditz, in which he wrote addressed to a comment from Ms. Kim Wombles:

    "As for the responses to your item, I see you've met Mr. Golden and Ms. Brandl, among others. They do, indeed, have interesting perspectives on these matters. One of the responses I would like to see from them and their friends is an agreement to participate in honest, methodologically sound scientific tests of their claims."

    10 If you go to this blog entry, you will not find any response from me or others to this direct challenge. However, I did post a response accepting the challenge from Professor Todd but it was removed in a matter of minutes. Professor Todd knows about my acceptance because I also contacted him by private email. It is possible that others accepted this challenge but it was removed and Professor Todd would never know about it. I do think it is more likely that the others never even knew about this direct challenge. Personally, I only learned about this challenge from a link provided by Ms. Wombles on the blog "item" that I was involved in making comments.

    11. Although there is more I wish to comment about, I have other urgent matters I must get to right now. Still, I look forward to a response from Ms. Wombles. Of course, others are welcome by me to comment too. By the way, one matter I wish to comment on is about the writings of the late Eastern Michigan University Professor Marcello Truzzi (1935-2003) - who I first learned about only one month ago - who "was one of the founding members of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) in 1976, but soon resigned, claiming that the committee was more interested in debunking than in investigating." (from Skepdic website of Robert Todd Carroll) I would love to get the opinion of Professor Todd about this fellow professor from his university.

    Arthur Golden

    kwombles
    Arthur,
    Do you forget the various things you post?

    You've been commenting on my posts about FC since I first began writing about it more than a year ago:
     http://kwomblescountering.blogspot.com/2010/03/facilitated-communication-review-of.html

    You also leave a wide trail of your various beliefs, from the idea that fc is telepathic to the idea that Ben is talking to spirits (_http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Autism-Ben_Golden/message/22, _http://www.goldenfc.com/archive/).

    And you yourself admit recently that Ben failed to have his communication verified as independent (and admitted on the archive linked above):

    From http://www.science20.com/countering_psychology_woo_and_science_asds/facilitated_communication_price_too_high_pay-75597

    "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."



    "
    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...."




    I see no point in wading through and answering each of your numbers; as usual, your responses seek to waste the responder's time. You've demonstrated that FC is a belief system for you. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    12. This time, you asked a different question than if FC has been scientifically validated; you asked if I independently verified that the communication is coming from my son. I have to leave the house right now so I provide a more complete response later.

    kwombles
    No, I didn't. 
    FC has not been scientifically validated. You know that. Dr Todd has provided rebuttals to your claims time and time again, as have I. 

    If you really believed that FC was genuine, you'd have taken Randi's challenge or Dr. Todd's offer. And you yourself admitted that the communication hadn't been verified. You said I was wrong that your son's communication hadn't been independently verified. And I provided your own words back to you. When your son's communication was not verified as genuine in 1994 you moved onto spiritual communication/telepathy. You later denounced that on Countering. The reality is that you've left a long and varied internet trail relating to FC and your son and anyone willing to wade through the tedium of your extensive posts on yahoo groups and any article you find relating to FC can backtrack through your statements.

    Your son's value as a human being worthy of love, respect and dignity is not dependent on his ability to use language, possess secrets to the universe, or to communicate with spirits and angels. His value is not predicated on his intelligence or lack thereof. 

    He has value because he is.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    13. Either you have not carefully read and understood what I actually wrote or I have not clearly explained myself. In either case, there are some major misunderstandings between you and me about what I meant about FC.

    14. It is already evening here and this evening I do not have the time to try to clarify every point of misunderstanding, but I can quickly note some points, which I will do now.

    15. I will start with your very last point because I absolutely agree with you that "He has value because he is." I do not understand why you believe I do not absolutely agree with your last point.

    16. Going back to the beginning of your latest comment, I did take up Dr. Todd's offer. I do not understand why you believe that I did not.

    17. I will have to double-check but I believe that for arguement's sake, i was willing to concede the point that FC has not been scientifically validated. However, your new question is about communication being "independently verified" which to me is not the same as "scientifically validated." However, at this time I wish to clarify that after reading many FC studies over the past several months, it is my current position that FC has been scientifically validated, albeit not at the ridiculously high gold standard insisted by Porfessor Todd and others.

    18. I am absolutely certain that I never stated that my son Ben communicates with "angels" and I know that I have clearly stated that he does not have any contact with "angels."

    19. Any further comments will have to wait until at least tomorrow.

    Arthur Golden

    kwombles
    Agreed, you haven't used the word angels; that was imprecise of me. Spiritual communication you have used repeatedly. Telepathy you have used repeatedly. Neshama you have used repeatedly. 
    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Autism-Ben_Golden/message/22
    http://www.goldenfc.com/archive/
    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/autismlist/message/17283



    You don't seem to be able to keep your own arguments straight. In 17, you were willing to concede FC hadn't been validated scientifically, but then you decide it has been.

    You know, you're more than welcome to save all future comments. I'm not interested in reading them.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    20. Sigh, this is too frustrating for me to continue. I pray that I am wrong that you, Professor Todd etc. are causing severe harm to the most vulnerable human beings.

    Arthur Golden

    kwombles
    Arthur, you're done here. Your defense of a modality that has been debunked, that has been shown to cause tremendous harm to and to the most vulnerable, is indefensible. Your comments are not welcome on my posts and I will delete them accordingly. There are alternative technologies that will allow the nonverbal to communicate without the chance of facilitator co-option. Our advocacy of those technologies over debunked FC can in no way be said to cause "severe harm." You should truly be ashamed of yourself.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    opines to consider:
    “Contrary to what many believe, neither skeptics nor science claim to know the absolute truth on matters. They claim to hold provisional truths: answers that are the best explanation for things at the present time. http://www.ukskeptics.com/article.php?dir=articles&article=science_has_b...

    well unfortunately for many on the spectrum there are those who claim to know the absolute truth on matters...eg;

    "no excuse to use fc. None...And I call bs on your contentions" [kwombles]

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    So, you've basically got nothing, Stanley, to bolster your claim that FC should be used. When the preponderance of evidence shows that the modality is not resulting in client communication but in the co-option of that communication by the facilitator, and with several other alternatives that ensure this co-option doesn't occur, there is NO good reason to use FC and every ethical reason not to use FC.
    We're done, Stanley.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Gerhard Adam
    You're playing fast and loose with the concept of "absolute truth".  While every theory is ultimately a "provisional truth", it isn't arbitrary nor does that mean that every speculative notion is granted equality.

    In science what is known is "absolute" in the sense that other explanations must either expand on the knowledge or provide an explanation that encompasses everything that is already known.  To foster such a criticism is disingenuous at best.  Evidence is unequivocally required and without it, there is nothing to discuss.

    More to the point, the evidence cannot simply be anecdotal nor can it be liberally interpreted simply because a result fits a preconceived notion.  Therefore when someone embraces an idea that hasn't been verified or doesn't fit a criteria of proof, then it isn't true, no matter how much one might wish otherwise.  A previous commenter mentioned a "gold standard" which is a ridiculous assertion.  If there's any ambiguity or doubt then proof is lacking.  There is no "gold standard" there's only evidence.  If it can be interpreted in multiple ways, then evidence doesn't exist.
    Mundus vult decipi
    This is an excellent blog that demonstrates that science has limits;a height and a breadth and a width beyond which it is unproductive and dishonest to go.The answer here is [as you have done Kim] is to shout STOP but it does not stop any of us by cross-pollination of science to find the answers to this problem in other scientific disciplines.

    All:

    Kim and I have been accused of doing harm by advocating that FC be evaluated objectively and scientifically, as should any extraordinary claims about treatment effectiveness.

    We have already demonstrated that FC is harmful when false accusations are made. Given that FC reliably fails when tested, revealing the facilitator to be the author, we have urged its abandonment. GIven that the facilitators who have been exposed as the authors always claim to have been unaware of their errors, we know that those in direct contact with the technique cannot be trusted to evaluate it effectively. The same goes for all those who have observed those instances of FC later shown to be false. It is astonishing that we are said to be doing harm by advocating against the use of something that has never been shown to work by good scientific standards, reliably fails even when done by those who appear to be highly experienced in its application, and has resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of dozens of innocent people.

    How can advocating caution in this matter be anything but exactly the right thing to do?

    I am not confident those who speak for FC care about the harm that has actually, demonstrably come from FC. Some give these things lip service, claiming to be sorry. The emptiness of the regret is revealed by how they then continue on as if nothing happened, as if there was nothing to learn. By and large the advocates of FC collectively and individually seem to have the infinite capacity to rationalize away all of FC's many, many documented failures. It is abundantly clear that they believe facilitator influence only happens to other people. Otherwise the FC enterprise would loudly and repeatedly insist on ongoing objective tests for influence. But, it does not. The major figures in the FC movement do not and their their works do not. They do the opposite. They argue against genuinely evaluating the method they themselves admit is dangerously fallible. Ignorance is truly bliss. An ignorant facilitator is a successful facilitator. They complain that all the previous demonstrated failures of FC do not prove that all instances are failures. Well, we might grant that to be technically true. The sun has never risen in the west before; maybe it will tomorrow.

    Propriety. What are the boundaries of FC? I don't think there are any. I think FC is an enterprise that has yet to do its worst. Not just put more people in jail--as it will. I mean things like the direct and cynical victimization of the desperate and sick. They already have the "Mommy I love you" scam. Children who have never said a meaningful word in their lives suddenly type, their hands being held by a supportive facilitator, affirmations of affection to desperate tearful parents who have been longing to hear exactly those things. How low can they go after something like that?

    I sit here looking at a published transcript of what is said to be a 3-month-old baby explaining to her parents, via FC, that she was born ill and her infant siblings both died due her parents' religious impiety. The weeks-old baby supposedly assured her parents that if they were to repent and join a religious group, her health would be restored.

    Below an excerpt from this extraordinary dialogue. "Q" is the parents; "A" is supposedly the infant, her hand held guided by another person.

    Q: Why do we suffer so much?
    A: This is the third time I’ve returned to this world, but you still haven’t changed your ways.
    Q: What must we do?
    A: Teshuva.
    Q: But we are good Jews!
    A: If you go to Rav L. in the north, he will help you see the light.
    Q: What is his first name?
    A: Yehuda.
    Q: Why do we have so many other problems?
    A: They stem from the same root.
    Q: Should we move?
    A: Yes. Move to a Torah community.

    (Source: pp. 47-50 in Secrets of the Soul, 2000, Yehuda Srevnik)

    What is beyond people who would report such things, not to the authorities as a crime, but to true believers as evidence of the power of their discredited method? I submit that to use a sick infant's hand to browbeat her desperate parents into religious adherence is a crime for which we do not yet have a name. But the technique that enabled the crime has a name: Facilitated Communication.

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.

    [james todd say] We have already demonstrated that FC is harmful when false accusations are made.

    and as already the oft repeated harm is the harm of a screwed up judicial system...where harms occures even when FC is not involved.

    it not about false accusations which are available in spades when FC is not involved.

    [james todd say] Given that FC reliably fails when tested

    the test are not designed to test the innate ability many/most/all on the spectrum have to acquire knowledge without a formal education...

    just as IQ test are not designed to evaluate the intelligence of those in ghettos.

    there is no way a blind test could determine my daughters ability...one would have to spends weeks, months with her.

    the scientific proof tests are similar to todd having lunch with an autistic person , then being able to determine their abilities...and;

    similar to a PhD psychologist spending 30-45 minutes with my daughter and saying she was not autistic...this in the face she was DXed as autistic from emory (atl) to UCLA (la)... not to mention evaluation of 40 years with her parents.

    BTW anti-FC crusaders use the same science to diss FC as used to promote ABA...ie, promotional science...see ms dawsons "misbehavior of the behaviorist."

    stanley seigler

    [Gerhard Adam say] You're playing fast and loose with the concept of "absolute truth". While every theory is ultimately a "provisional truth", it isn't arbitrary nor does that mean that every speculative notion is granted equality
    COMMENTs:
    agree so what...still doesn't explain why some dont consider: "answers that are the best explanation for things at the present time"...

    [Gerhard Adam say] Evidence is unequivocally required and without it, there is nothing to discuss.

    that behaviors have improved and and that there are numerous successes as acknowledged by james todd and the improvements in my daughter life is evidence.

    would please state how many people you know personally who use FC and have either been helped or hurt by it use...

    stanley seigler

    I hereby retract all my comments on this blog entry and request that all my comments be deleted along with all the responses to my comments, especially where required by the Terms of Service.

    Thank you in advance.

    Arthur Golden

    [james todd say] We have already demonstrated that FC is harmful [...] we have urged its abandonment.
    [and he say] Once again, I must remind readers that I am not talking about the routine hand-over--hand initial teaching we usually engage in with our children [...] Nor am I talking about individuals who type independently.
    COMMENTs:
    one case of harm is the one james uses to support his position...assume there are others, as false accusations occur all too often, whether FC is involved or not.
    other than false accusations are there other examples of the harm done by FC...in the 30 some peers of my daughter, i have only seen positive outcomes thanks to FC.

    if the parents of these children (now adults) had gone along with your "urgeings"; the peers' off the wall behavior may have increase vice decreased...communication is the key to positive outcomes and FC provides this to many nonverbals.

    that said:

    think i have the plan to eliminate what you all see as the harm:

    [james say] " am not talking about the routine hand-over... Nor am I talking about individuals who type independently." so;

    change the name to Hand Over Hand (HOH)...continue HOH until one types independly.

    asked not answered: why the anti-FC crusade...urgeing its abandonment...have heard a convoluted explanation...saving children from parents who will not love them if the dont communicate.

    BTW was kwombles a student of james todd...

    stanley seigler

    ps.
    [james say] Kim and I have been accused of doing harm by advocating that FC be evaluated objectively and scientifically [...] we have urged its abandonment.
    COMMENT
    all ya'll all are NOT accused of doing harm by advocating FC be evaluated objectively...you ARE doing harm by urging its abandonment...aka the anti-FC crusade.

    and i am not aware of any test that can scientifically prove FC is snake oil...as said, one would have to spend weeks/months with my daughter to properly evaluate her abilities...

    i suspect this is true of most on the spectrum...it certainly takes more than a lunch meeting.

    so until proper tests are designed...it is urged observable science be used...ie, seeing is believing...and tho anecdotes are not scientific they are evidence.

    stanley seigler

    [L. Arnold, aka Lrex say] I was not aware that "wretches and jabberers" was a product of the Biklen stable, but Biklen is not someone I trust.
    COMMENT
    lrex is someone i trust...also trust biklen...can lrex provide insight to why he mistrust bilken.
    stanley seigler

    [kwom say] We're done, Stanley.
    COMMENT
    sounds like kwom wants to conduct her anti-FC crusade without a challenge...this doesn't seem scientific...it's worse than ms dawson's promotional science.
    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    You're free to post your 'comments.' Doesn't mean I have to respond to the generally incoherent rants. You should decide if you're in love with Dawson or not. Your inconsistency there is confusing. Hah, and thank you, I snorted, truly, with laughter at the idea that you think you bring a challenge to the table, Stanley. Anecdote is not data and it's not evidence. It's so susceptible to error and to outright falsehoods as to be meaningless.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Stanley,all Kim is doing is offering her ideas in this Supermarket of ideas you can take it off the shelf or leave it.I would think though that you clearly love your daughter and would be willing to "shop around " for the best for her,not put all your eggs in the one basket so to speak.I would keep an open mind and not take up an entrenched position on F.C. which may blind you to any new revelation on autism and could lead you to extreems in this area.It is often going to extreems in one area of science that leads to error and the balance may lie in some other direction of science.For instance in our environment there is an environmental counterpart to every part of our body that works upside down and inside out in an opposite and symbiotic way to it.The tree's head is where it eats,in the ground[down,upside down to ours]it's skull is the tap root and its brain is in the soil and water around the root zone [inside out to our brains].Studying the soil and water chemistry around the root zone of the tree therefore could give us a new perspective on how the human brain works.How we solve the problems of soil chemistry for the health of trees could help us solve the chemistry of the human brain problems.So perhaps a botanist might have some answers for you with your problem.

    I don't think stanley et al realise that their comments here are largely incoherent and contradictory, and that as a consequence they are not shedding any light on the "debate". (Reading Kim's and Todd's replies to those comments, is like taking a breath of fresh air.) I have read every comment here, and the more I read, the more clear it is that nothing will convince those who are so whole-heartedly pro-FC, that it is not a genuine or authentic form of communication. (That "dedication" is not a good thing by the way; unfalsifiable theories are pointless and useless.)

    Given the evidence against its authenticity, the rational response would be to reconsider one's attitude towards and use of FC, particularly in the face of the very real harms that can be (and have been) caused by FC. Kim has also been so kind as to provide a link to a post where she mentions alternative AAC methods, but for some reason those alternatives don't appear to rate mention or consideration by the passionate pro-FCers.

    Ms. Kim Wombles wrote about 8 hours ago (apparently in response to Stanley Seigler):

    "You're free to post your 'comments.' Doesn't mean I have to respond to the generally incoherent rants."

    But about 1-1/2 days ago, Ms. Wombles wrote "Arthur, you're done here...." and when I posted a very short comment in response, it was quickly deleted.

    Then about 12 hours ago, I posted a message which has not yet been deleted that "I hereby retract all my comments on this blog entry and request that all my comments be deleted along with all the responses to my comments, especially where required by the Terms of Service." Such messages have not yet been deleted. Therefore, since I am most gravely concerned about the violations of the Terms of Service of the last message posted by Professor James Todd 7 hours after you told me that I am done here, I request explicit permission to post a response to that message of James Todd.

    Arthur Golden

    kwombles
    I'm done communicating with you. I can't stop people from posting. I can and will delete it if it's beyond the pale. You know the one I deleted stepped over the line (many of yours have, but that one was the proverbial straw).
    No terms of service have been broken here. You of all people should know better.
    All of the current comments will remain. Period. Tough toodles if you don't like them. I, as always, reserve the right to delete the comments that go too far, unless however capricious that may be, I choose to let you be hoist by your own petard. 

    You could have left the comment at any time; you could have left it instead of the earlier one, in fact, and been done and instead of the last one left.  You could cut your comments down if you just did instead of writing that you would be doing.

    After a year of interaction with you, I have to tell you I find your concern an affectation at best, and that all in all, your need to defend FC at all costs, while understandable given the wealth of material you've left on the internet over the years, tedious. I at least try to come up with new material.


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    kwombles
    Stanley, you cross lines with your posts and they will be deleted. I'd recommend you don't.
    Yeah, you know there are other things besides FC and ABA.  I wonder if you stick with FC because AAC don't produce the results you want. Have you tried PECs? Sign language? 

    I suggest that you either offer substantive arguments or move along. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    kwombles
    Stanley's comment has been removed. Quit trying that one.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kwom say] I wonder if you stick with FC because AAC don't produce the results you want. Have you tried PECs? Sign language?

    COMMENT
    over forty some years we have tried them all...FC provided the best results...the FC communication was a huge factor in reducing her off wall behaviors...she also uses PECs in conjunction with FC...she FCs with 3 of her friends (support staff) and with me on occasions.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    You know, I know you know to put quotes around things and how to use full names, so I'm going to delete comments where you don't as I see that as disrespectful. Just like everytime you suggest someone's one of my students. I'm not kidding. Substantive or not at all. 

    Oh, I'm sure FC "provided the best results." You want critics to believe you that FC is genuine communication, I suggest you prove it by submitting your daughter's communication to an independent verification.


    Updated:

    Full names. Period.

    And quit asking people if they're my students. They're not. 
    That's not a substantive argument and any charitable feelings I might have for you are quickly being burned off with your troll like behavior.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kwombles say] "Oh, I'm sure FC provided the best results. You want critics to believe you that FC is genuine communication, I suggest you prove it by submitting your daughter's communication to an independent verification."

    previously posted comments re tests:

    I [ss] am not aware of any test that can scientifically prove FC is snake oil...as said, one would have to spend weeks/months with my daughter to properly evaluate her abilities...the intelligence of autism.

    I suspect this is true of most on the spectrum...it certainly takes more than a lunch meeting.

    so until proper tests are designed...it is urged observable science be used...i.e., seeing is believing...and thou anecdotes are not scientific they are evidence.

    now adding to previous post: see docs, autism is a world; Wretches and Jabberers; Charley, etc; and James Todd [LBRB bog] acknowledges “amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...

    that said if i thought it would convince your ilk...i would subject my daughter to an appropriate test (tho she is tested daily and proves she has an innate ability to learn without a formal education)...

    but as your ilk dismisses observable science i know nothing will convince you. you did not believe sue rubin (college degrees)...now you claim wretches and jabberers (larry and tracy have been FCing for decades) is a hoax...and that abounding testimonials are exploitive tricks.

    BTW who is being exploited...none of the FCers i know seem exploited...their lives are much improved through FC...where the exploitation...

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Ilk? Seriously? 
    You really need to consult a dictionary, bud. That's not "observable science." That's anecdote, wishful thinking, and to borrow a term from you, convoluted bs.

    You do realize you're just repeating yourself, still basically incoherent and demonstrating trollish behavior, right?
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    ask not answered: who is being exploited...none of the FCers i know seem exploited...their lives are much improved through FC...where's the exploitation...eg;

    is larry bissonnette exploited...he was institutionalized into his 20s...now thanks to "FC exploitation" he is really, really in the community...

    wondering where he would be if he had followed someone's urging and abandoned FC...

    stanley seigler

    [kimwomblesperiod say] Ilk? Seriously? You really need to consult a dictionary, bud. That's not "observable science." That's anecdote

    bud consulting dictionary:

    1.ilk: Type or kind; can't trust people of that ilk

    2. A scientist begins an investigation by observing an object or an activity. Observation typically involves one or more of the human senses—hearing, SIGHT, smell, taste, and touch.

    use in a sentence: antiFCers and their ilk dont use the human sense of sight (ie, seeing is believing)
    ...none so blind as those who will not see.

    as said anecdotes are not scientific proof they are evidence.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    "Caveat and full disclosure: I am a true believer and one should beware of true believers of/in any program, ideology, philosophy, etc..."

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DDRIGHTS/message/5713


    Those are your own words, Stanley.


    No, anecdotes are not evidence. They are the beginning. And those anecdotes have been investigated and the consensus of the scientific community is that facilitated communication is a debunked modality that has not been demonstrated to be anything other than the facilitator co-option of communication. That consensus has been reached after two decades of continuing investigation into it. 


    There are alternative augmentative communication devices that ensure no facilitator co-option. There is no ethical justification for the continued use of FC.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kimwombles say] Those are your own words. the words: "Caveat and full disclosure: I am a true believer and one should beware of true believers of/in any program, ideology, philosophy, etc..."

    indeed they are. i go on to say: "The time spent discrediting FC by behaviorist true believers would be better spend researching the innate ability some/many (most/all?) on the spectrum have to learn w/o formal education...perhaps similar to mozarts ability to compose symphonies (at 4) w/o formal training.

    [kimwombles say] No, anecdotes are not evidence. They are the beginning. And those anecdotes have been investigated...

    anecdotes are evidence...ie, anecdotal evidence...the evidence may be fact or fiction...but as you say they are the beginning...tho i dont understand why you say all the FC anecdotes are lies and urge people to abandon FC...

    as mentioned wonder where larry bissenntte be if he had followed that urging...

    i see the abundance of anecdotes as indicative that FC works for many...ie, todd acknowledges: "amazing feats, college degrees, scripts, awards of FC Stars and abounding testimonials”...

    the scientific community to which you refer too often uses promotional science to prove/disprove a position...the science used to promote ABA (see ms dawson's article) is the same science used to diss FC.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    And yet you absolutely fail to see that your rhetoric is no different in substance than the anti-vaxxers insistence that they know what they saw after their children were vaccinated.
    Following the scientific consensus is far different from being a true believer. 

    You've amply demonstrated that you are only interested in maintaining your belief system. You also have demonstrated that you are incapable of being anything other than redundantly incoherent. One moment you like Dawson; the next you use her to prove your points. It, too, is substantially insubstantial.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kimwombles say] Following the scientific consensus is far different from being a true believer...

    COMMENT: not far different from the true believer science ms dawson describes...she say: “Promotion first, science later, if ever. This pattern is near universal when it comes to autism interventions."...but in the mind of the true believer

    COMMENT: and not far different from the science/testing opined by PhD physicist and father of twin boys with autism who FCed: "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)...Psychologists use statistical methods that require large samples to calculate standard deviations and error bars from sets of as few as ten subjects…many of them do not understand observational science as applied to human beings, who are not robots and do not obey fixed laws of behavior."

    [kimwombles say] One moment you like Dawson; the next you use her to prove your points. It, too, is substantially insubstantial

    COMMENT: say what? like dawson use her to prove point??? oh/and, one saying it is substantially insubstantial (except in the mind of the true believer) make it true

    [kimwombles say] You've amply demonstrated that you are only interested in maintaining your belief system.

    COMMENT: You've amply demonstrated that you are only interested in maintaining your belief system to the detriment of the nonverbals and those who are more comfortable with a facilator...ask not answered what harm does FC...false accusation are not unique to FC...and occur orders of magnitude more often when FC not involved.

    [kimwombles say] And yet you absolutely fail to see that your rhetoric is no different in substance than the anti-vaxxers

    COMMENT: you got lucky...you are right...and yet you absolutely fail to see: "neither skeptics nor science claim to know the absolute truth on matters. They (except for kimwombles) claim to hold provisional truths: answers that are the best explanation for things at the present time"

    do no harm.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    And harm has been demonstrated with FC. You have no moral high ground here, Stanley. None at all.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kimwombles say] And harm has been demonstrated with FC. You have no moral high ground here, Stanley. None at all

    and except for false accusations which to repeat, are a judicial issue not FC...oh/and how many false accusations are you aware of since the wendrow case...and other than false accusation how has FC harm been demonstration...

    of those (30 some of my daughters peers) who FC i know of only positive outcomes...

    as mentioned you saying it doesn't make it so, as you seem to think...not looking for high ground...just examples/explanation...what's been demonstrated...

    ask/not answered: how has larry bissennette been harmed/exploited?

    your "none at all" sound like a true believer...no possibility they are wrong...show me the harm.

    stanley seigler

    [kim wombles say] And quit asking people if they're my students. They're not.
    That's not a substantive argument and any charitable feelings I might have for you are quickly being burned off with your troll like behavior

    its goes to motive which is substantive...thanks for answering.

    re charitable feelings, as probably quoted: "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" (Rebbe Nachman).

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Motive? Really, seriously? Circumstantial ad homs now?
     Yeah, I didn't figure you were trying to win any popularity contests, Stanley, but I highly doubt that has much to do with being a person of truth, although I'll grant you your being "free to be who you are." And I'm free to file you accordingly.


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kim wombles say] Motive? Really, seriously?

    motive...yes seriously...as in an apple for the teacher...

    [kim wombles say] Circumstantial ad homs now?

    i see no ad hom...where do you see one...you seem to just throw out phrases vice debate points.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Just because you don't understand the terms doesn't mean I'm just throwing them out. It's a fallacy to argue that a person's claims are inaccurate because he benefits from the claim (which is what you're suggesting that people are when you suggest they're my students). By consequence, though, you're both impugning my honor and theirs, and it's part of the reason I've decided you're trolling.
    Claims should be substantiated by evidence. You have not done so. You've engaged in fallacious arguments (albeit often incoherent ones) instead.

    But you go ahead and keep your puffed-up rhetoric coming; it's almost as damning as the lack of scientific evidence for FC and will certainly help open-minded individuals make up their minds. Which position is backed by evidence? Which position protects human rights? Which position seeks to make sure that the communication from the individual is his own, and seeks to protect the individual from having his communication co-opted? Which position seeks modalities that do work and are guaranteed of being independent communication? Hmmmm. I think those are really easy questions to answer.

    I wonder if Biklen thinks you (and Arthur) help or hurt his cause?

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kim wombles say] Just because you don't understand the terms...

    i do understand the terms...also understand they do not answer specific questions...ie, are general bs.

    [kim wombles say] By consequence, though, you're both impugning my honor and theirs, and it's part of the reason I've decided you're trolling.

    is by consequences what you see as an ad hom...

    of course we disagree...but i am not impugning your and students whatever...motivation is important...which you answered: they are not your students..

    so now i know they are not apple for teacher motivated...which provides a better understanding of their position.

    [kim wombles say] I've decided you're trolling

    certainly you are entitled to yo opine...everyone has one...but the following quote is more appropriate as to my motivation:

    "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)

    not sure this is your motivation...your motivation seems to be to get those like larry bissonnette to abandon FC...ie, you urge abandonment of FC.

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    You offer no substance to your claims; you simply prattle on. On the plus side, every time you look at this a very small fraction of a penny (I do receive a small portion of the ad revenue which I donate to Dunning) goes to Brian Dunning's Skeptoid and inFact episodes, so I guess I should thank you for helping me support Brian Dunning's efforts. It's fitting that a supporter of pseudoscientific bunk should help support Dunning's skeptical work. Thanks.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    [kim wombles say] I donate to Dunning...goes to Brian Dunning's Skeptoid and in Fact episodes...prattle, prattle, etc, etc...
    speaking of prattle...how does your donation to whoever relate to FC...you never contribute/answer to specifics...eg, how has larry bissonnette been harmed...
    stanley seigler

    [kim wombles say] I wonder if Biklen thinks you (and Arthur) help or hurt his cause?

    i could give a BM less what bilkens cares...why do you ask...

    stanley seigler

    [kim wombles say] And yet you [seigler] absolutely fail to see that your rhetoric is no different in substance than the anti-vaxxers insistence that they know what they saw after their children were vaccinated.

    COMMENT

    tho i fail to see whatever in any substance...i do see parallels between antiVAXers and antiFCers.

    and yet kim absolutely fails to see that her insistence FC is harmful and should be banned (abandoned) is similar to the antiVAXers insistence VAXS cause autism (do harm) and should be banned,

    many antiVAXers were/are motivated by greed...looking to sue big pharma (BP)

    and

    james todd has pointed out he and colleagues do not get rich off ABA. tho this is true for many...many antiFCers are motivated by a potential loss of revenue and alidity...what they have taught and teach.

    both ANTI-es believe because they say it, it's fact...and fail to respond to specific (eg, how is larry bissennette harmed) points.

    and guess the antiFCers have something in common with VAX guys...it's a not positive...both claim to know/have the absolute truth...vice the position of true science:

    “Contrary to what many believe, neither skeptics nor science claim to know the absolute truth on matters. They claim to hold provisional truths: answers that are the best explanation for things at the present time.

    both are ideologues...true believers in their position.

    stanley seigler

    CORRECTION
    POSTED: any antiFCers are motivated by a potential loss of revenue and alidity...what they have taught and teach.,,

    should read:

    many antiFCers are motivated by a potential loss of revenue and VALALIDITY...what they have taught and teach.

    added: antiFCers are on th wrong side of history...they are the flat earthers.

    stanley seigler

    Hank
    If you replace 'facilitated communication' with 'television psychic' you can see why so many people have an issue with it - basically, it's all made up and hopefully enough lucky guesses occur that the gullible do not catch on.
    [Campbell say ]it's all made up...

    and you know how many use FC...pls advise with name/some ID.

    stanley seigler

    Hank
    I know if I interpret Bulgarian, I am going to get a lot wrong and guess most of it.  Facilitated Communication is for people who think throwing together a bunch of Spanish-sounding words means they actually speak Spanish.

    I also don't know any dog whisperers, ghost hunters or tarot card readers.  This does not mean they are scientifically valid.
    22. Ms. Kim Wombles commented 04/13/11 at 16:24 PM:

    "...I wonder if Biklen thinks you (and Arthur) help or hurt his cause?"

    23. Therefore, I feel I must answer this question so I am posting this comment. Of course, I cannot answer for Mr. Stanley Seigler. For my own reference, I started this comment with point 22 even though I have retracted all my previous comments and requested that all my comments be deleted along with all the responses to my comments, especially where required by the Terms of Service, which did not yet happen.

    24. My short answer to the question would be that Professor Douglas Biklen has publicly expressed that he thinks I hurt his cause. Since such public information may no longer be so easy to find, I do appreciate that Ms. Wombles asked this question so I can explain further about my over 30 year connection with Professor Biklen.

    25. Over 30 years ago, when my son Ben was 7 years old and was in severe crisis, I started trying to obtain more information about special educational programs and I came across the Jowonia Preschool Inclusion Program connected with the Special Education Department of Syracuse University, which included Professor Biklen. Then in September 1990, I read the Harvard Education Review article by Professor Biklen about Facilitated Communication. In February 1991, Ms. Kristi Jorde arranged that speech therapist Marilyn Chadwick came to the Boston Higashi School and tested my son and a number of others students to use FC. Ms. Chadwick was affiliated with the Facilitated Communication Institute, headed by Professor Biklen, of Syracuse University. I have vague recollections that on occassion I actually spoke to Professor Biklen by telephone. After my son Ben at age 22 in May 1994 was given the FC validation test of Dr. Howard Shane and one major vaiable was not considered (see point 5), I tried to directly contact Professor Biklen to discuss this issue of the one major variable but he refused to do so when I described the one major variable. I later learned that Ms. Kristi Jorde had already discussed this one major variable with Professor Biklen and he refused to be in contact with anyone who tried to discuss this issue with him. Therefore Professor Biklen has not communicated directly with me at least for these nearly 17 years, even though on occassion he has publicly expressed that my son Ben (or his group here in Israel) is not doing Facilitated Communication in accordance with his (to me) very narrow definition of FC (which definition is not adequately described in this blog entry). In turn, on occassion I have publicly expressed my disagreement with Professor Biklen about FC, sometimes with my position more agreeing with that of Professor James Todd on various issues about FC.

    26. Since I am posting a comment, I would like to mention a few other points that are extremely important to me, first starting with some comments about the last comment from Professor Todd posted over 3 days ago. By the way, since Professor Todd sent me a private email, I think about 3 years ago, to express his objection to a statement I made about him to the private group FCworld which I then quickly retracted because of his objections, I felt I could send Professor Todd my objections to this comment of his on this public website, resulting in my sending him 9 emails over 2 days and Professor Todd responding with 6 emails, but he did not similarly to me 3 years ago agree to retract his comment.

    27. In his comment Professor Todd stated that Facilitated Communication "has resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of dozens of innocent people." In one of my emails I wrote back and have not yet received any response:

    "Since the release of Julian Wendrow [in Michigan] over 3 years ago, I am not aware of any such further arrest and imprisonment anywhere [throughout the entire US]. Could you please provide me this information of any such arrest and imprisonment in the last 3 years?"

    28. Without checking my sources, I am pretty certain that in the published literature FC is considered "very harmful" because of the risk of allegations of sexual abuse. The "evidence" presented is the report from the late Bernard Rimland that sometime in the mid-1990s there were a total of 60 cases of allegations of sexual abuse through the use of FC - throughout the entire US over the course of several years. I will note that so far as I am aware there have been very few reported cases throughout the US in the 15 or so years since then, with the Wendrow case of Michigan in November 2007 where the father Julian Wendrow being jailed for 81 days before the dismissal of all charges in April 2008 being one of the rare cases. "60 cases" is "dozens" but I know that not everyone resulted in "arrest and imprisonment" so it could be that "arrest and imprisonment" was not even one dozen. In contrast, the published literature seems to never report ABA as being "harmful."

    29. In his last comment, Professor Todd also quotes a very short excerpt from the 3 page section at pages 47-50 of book "Secrets of the Soul" which is available to read as a free ebook at:

    http://www...dani18.com/uploads/Secrets_of_the_Soul.pdf

    30. Professor Todd interprets this 3 page section as "a crime for which we do not yet have a name. But the technique that enabled the crime has a name: Facilitated Communication." First of all, I strongly disagree with Professor Toadd about his interpretation. As I wrote in my recent emails to Professor Todd, "I should also note that just because someone states something is Facilitated Communication (or ABA for that matter), most others may not agree that it is FC in accordance with their actual definition. You should realize that Professor Douglas Biklen does not consider what is described in this referenced section of the book as being within his definition of FC..."

    31. About 12 hours ago, Ms. Wombles also asks the question:

    "Which position seeks modalities that do work and are guaranteed of being independent communication?"

    In another blog entry about a month ago when I asked Ms. Wombles for specific proof of such modalities, she referenced a 10 year-old article from Pat Mirenda. Contrary to her opinion expressed in that other blog entry, I am not so wedded to FC that I ignore seeking other modalities for my son, but I have not found any despite what I consider a very diligent ongoing search. In my search, I found a much more recent article from Pat Mirenda which I suggest that anyone interested in this issue should read:

    Mirenda, Pat (2008) 'A Back Door Approach to Autism and AAC', Augmentative and Alternative Communication,24:3,220-234

    Although my son Ben has no speech whatsoever, he currently has a self-initiated completely independent means of communication of Gesturing which meets his daily needs which he prefers to use unless he wishes to communicate higher level intellectual matters in which case he needs to use Facilitated Communication. My dligient research has shown that other currently available AAC approaches would not provide him any communication capabilities for daily needs even as satisfactory as his Gesturing.which is already "guaranteed of being independent communication."

    32. Lastly, I note the 2 recent comments from Hank Campbell, who seems to be the moderator of Science 2.0 responsible for overseeing the requirements of the Terms of Service. While I am disaapointed with his apparently pre-existing viewpoint about Facilited Communication, I am well aware of the existing public information about FC so I am not surprised. Although I would give priority to good experimental research about FC, I can understand the desire of Professor Biklen to publicize films such as the original subject of this blog entry because of the existing negative viewpoint about FC by much of the world, including Hank Campbell.

    Arthur Golden

    [Hank Campbell say] I am going to get a lot wrong and guess most of it.

    COMMENT
    suppose this is your too cute by 1/2 way of saying you dont know anyone who uses FC...oh/and you have live with an autistic child for how many years...

    btw you guessed right.

    stanley seigler

    [Hank Campbell say] I also don't know any dog whisperers, ghost hunters or tarot card readers. This does not mean they are scientifically valid.
    COMMENT(s)
    and you contribute this painfully obvious comment why...do you imply because do not know anyone who uses FC it is not scientifically valid...weel;
    do you know any autistic person in an ABA program...if not does that mean ABA is not scientifically valid...btw i believe you would be right re ABA it is not scientifically valid (see "misbehavior of the behaviorists").

    ms dawson zeros in on autism-ABA science...my opine her points apply to all psychology related science.

    now to the point: FC works, whether scientifically valid or not...and if you knew anyone who uses FC you would know this...

    if you know no one then your opine has little, if any, value...and you join the antiFC crusade ranks...ie, most of the crusaders do not know a person who uses FC.

    stanley seigler

    33. I just located through a Google search the nearly 2 week-old USA Today article in which Professor James Todd is quoted. Since USA Today has a print circulation of over 1.8 million, I am not concerned that quoting the article here will result in a new publication of a negative statement about FC, so here is the relevant paragraph:

    Key to the skepticism is a long-standing debate over a technique known as "facilitated communication," in which assistants help people with limited speech by holding or guiding them as they type. "Facilitated communication is the single most discredited intervention in the history of developmental disabilities," says psychology professor James Todd of Eastern Michigan University.

    34. One of the comments to USA Today article, the first half is specifically on the above paragraph, from Mike Frandsen who states:

    The writer is incorrect when she defines Facilitated Communication as "guiding them as they type." FC is defined by the Institute on Communication and Inclusion (ICI) at Syracuse University (formerly the FC Institute) as:

    “A form of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) in which people with disabilities and communication impairments express themselves by pointing (e.g. at pictures, letters, or objects) and, more commonly, by typing (e.g. in a keyboard). The method involves a communication partner who may provide emotional encouragement, communication supports (e.g., monitoring to make sure the person looks at the keyboard and checks for typographical errors) and a variety of physical supports, for example to slow and stabilize the person’s movement, to inhibit impulsive pointing, or to spur the person to initiate pointing; the facilitator should never move or lead the person.”

    35. In the USA Today article, the quote from Professor James Todd is immediately followed by this paragraph:

    Howard Shane, director of the Center for Communication Enhancement at Children's Hospital Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, says many people with autism type independently. So he finds it "curious that those being facilitated can only create these insightful comments" when helped by an assistant.

    36. While it is true that "many people with autism type independently," I think this statement could be misleading because the issue is how many people with autism type independently as their only means of significant communication?

    37. My Google search also showed Eastern Michigan University posted the above quote from its Professor James Todd on Facebook:

    Eastern Michigan University Office of Admissions
    EMU is one of the nation's pioneers in the research of autism: ""Facilitated communication is the single most discredited intervention in the history of developmental disabilities," says psychology professor James Todd of Eastern Michigan University."

    38. I never knew that "EMU is one of the nation's pioneers in the research of autism" despite my 14 years of diligently searching for everything about autism on the internet and my over 20 years of research about autism before I had access to the internet.

    39. So far 3 people on Facebook like the above statement in point 37 above, including Theodore G. Coutilish, Associate Vice President, Marketing at Eastern Michigan University.

    Arthur Golden

    apologies...the ref to news release link was to a private list (todd belongs, as a parent kwom could join)...the news can be found at: http://wretchesandjabberers.org/press.php

    stanley seigler

    IMFAR 2011: Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals With Autism: Innovative Assessment & Treatment
    CLIP
    Why a specific focus on nonverbal kids with autism? Because they're often not included in research -- such kids can be difficult to test, especially when so many evaluation paradigms include verbal testing. As a result, little is known about why some kids with autism don't develop spoken language, or even what best approaches are.
    http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/

    “Contrary to what many believe, neither skeptics nor science claim to know the absolute truth on matters. They claim to hold provisional truths: answers that are the best explanation for things at the present time"...in the face of observable science, sadly true believers, antiFC crusaders, seem to know they have the absolute truth...

    KNOW "why some kids with autism don't develop spoken language, and what the best approaches are."

    stanley seigler

    41. I decided to post here 2 of my recent messages to autismfc and here is the first one:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/autismfc/message/2049

    From: Arthur
    To: autismfc@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 10:54 AM
    Subject: [AutismFC] Re: Facilitated Communication - realizing potential

    F19. - F21.

    F19. I just replied to the comment from Professor James Todd found in message #2048, as follows on the blog entry:

    Based upon publicly available information now in my possession, I question the factual accuracy of the May 24, 2011 statement of Professor James Todd that:

    "There are, in fact, no methodologically sound demonstrations of bona fide, reliable communication arising from FC." (Facilitated Communication)

    My information about this experimental data in support of Facilitated Communication was recently brought to my attention by the facilitator who was personally involved in the controlled study done in 1979. This information is from public court records and is documented in a published article from 1996. Although Professor Todd has extensively written about such controlled studies of Facilitated Communication for a number of years, I believe that he has not been personally involved in doing any such controlled studies. Professor Todd knows how to contact me if he wishes to discuss this matter further with me and I would welcome such contact.

    As Professor Todd brought to my attention, Charles Darwin stated in the 19th century "Great is the power of steady misrepresentation."

    Arthur Golden

    Posted on 6/1/11 3:30 AM. [EDT]

    F20. At the start of this thread in F1., I copied from my now over one year message #2019 and mentioned "my actual recent cooperation with Professor James Todd on arranging good scientific research involving my own son Ben." I should at this time mention that this cooperation with Professor Todd soon broke down and I was unable to arrange good scientific research involving my own son Ben. I had thought that Professor Todd was offering to be personally involved in doing such controlled studies about FC but he finally informed me that he was not. Although it is now a year later, I am still interested in being involved in such good scientific research and since June 2010 I have been involved with another PhD psychologist to try to arrange to do so, even though it has been a very slow process!

    F21. From the published article from 1996 mentioned above, I have excerpted information about experimental data in support of Facilitated Communication, resulting in a 12 page email. I do not plan to post this 12 page email as a message on autismfc but I will be glad to forward a copy of it to anyone who requests it. Although contained in this published article from 1996 and Professor Todd states he is familiar with all the information about FC, I believe it is likely that he was not aware of the experimental data in support of Facilitated Communication contained in this published article from 1996.

    The cast and crew of Wretches & Jabberers would like to thank all of our fans for turning out in droves to support our “100 Cities. One Night For Autism.” event in May. You have all become ambassadors for a global change in understanding of the relationship between autism, disability, communication, and intelligence. Share what you’ve learned with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, educators, and autism service providers.

    for the rest of the story goto: http://www.wretchesandjabberers.org/

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Spam will be deleted.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    k wombles say: spam will be deleted.

    not sure what you consider spam...do you consider updates re Wretches & Jabberers spam...

    stanley seigler

    kwombles
    Yeah, I do, especially when you're taking their text and not acknowledging it to be their text. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    {james todd say] Once again, I must remind readers that I am not talking about the routine hand-over--hand initial teaching we usually engage in with our children, where supports are gradually removed as the child masters the skill sets being worked on. In facilitated communication, there is no learning curve: communication is instantaneous and advanced and believed to be the communication of the disabled individual alone...Nor am I talking about individuals who type independently.

    COMMENT
    this is incorrect. there is a learning curve which leads to independent typing for many.
    in some there are amazing communication feats...this ability occurs with and without FC...eg, the talking typewriter of the mid 60s...and carly.

    this innate ability is what should be researched...FC is part of the autism intelligence...those who see this have made FC part of their programs.

    stanley seigler

    [james todd say] If Australia can protect its citizens from the dishonest purveyors of cheap baubles, why can't it do something about those who would willingly defraud families with autism with an intervention [facilitated communications] that has never once been shown to work by any objective scientific standard, and has repeatedly been shown to be harmful? http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1168-they-did-it-down-und...

    COMMENT
    repeatedly shown to be harmful...weel, also has been helpful and has in many instances led to independent typing.

    only known harm (at least to me) is in the courts...where the harm is by the judicial system...NOT FC.

    stanley seigler

    re: [FC] has absolutely no credibility in the medical, psychological, and scientific communities.

    not true of the entire communities...there are many in the communities who absolutely promote FC...eg:

    1991 statement by rimland: “Several years ago renowned [nobel prize] physicist Arthur Schawlow reported the remarkable results he and his wife had observed not long after providing their then 27-year-old son with a small hand held Canon communicator" [...] and

    Their [Schawlows] efforts included the championing of facilitated communication... http://www.stanford.edu/dept/p.....ibute.html

    ASHS say: Clinicians and others are encouraged to keep apprised of the latest findings concerning facilitated communication.
    why bad mouth FC?...why not just follow CA Lanterman Act and let an interdisciplinary team determine need and appropriate programs...

    stanley seigler

    re: The New York Times reviews the film and notes, "The film is maddeningly vague about how the two men made their initial breakthroughs, but it certainly is proof that even those who are written off as children can find a voice." ... Miriam Rinn offers a review of the documentary that quickly hones in on the problems in the documentary

    miriam rinn (as one be lead to believe) is NOT a writer for the NYT (her son is a BCBA, behavior analysis)...she wrote the misleading (my opine) review for NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM...NOT he NYT...

    the NYT has it right: " it (the movie) certainly is proof that even those who are written off as children can find a voice." ... NYT does not mention FC (that i could find)...larry and tracy do attribute their voice to FC...certainly the do not feel harmed by FC.

    stanley seigler

    I wanted to remark upon reference to the James Randi challenge.

    When Randi put forth the challenge regarding facilitated communication, I contacted him nearly immediately. My son has been communicating with assistive tech and now FC for a number of years, and I was eager to claim the $1 million offered.

    Randi and I traded a number of messages via email in which I detailed the use of FC with my son and how we are able to verify with him that what we communicated is truly what he intended to convey. After providing Randi with data, anecdotes, and links to resources online in which my son was featured, Randi abruptly halted communication.

    We remain $1 million poorer, but our son still communicates via FC.