Questions Concerning Facilitated Communication: Response to Duchan This letter is intended to express our concern with the featured tutorial article on facilitated communication in the December 1993 issue of JSHR (Duchan, 1993). As representatives of the autism and augmentative and alternative communication (MC) research communities, and as editorial consultants for JSHR, we feel an obligation to ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   February 01, 1995
Questions Concerning Facilitated Communication: Response to Duchan
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Melanie Fried-Oken, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Neurology Oregon Health Sciences University Director, Assistive Technology Program
  • Rhea Paul, PhD
    Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences Portland State University Director, Portland Language Development Project
  • Warren Fay, PhD
    Professor, Retired Oregon Health Sciences University
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   February 01, 1995
Questions Concerning Facilitated Communication: Response to Duchan
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1995, Vol. 38, 200-202. doi:10.1044/jshr.3801.200
History: Received March 7, 1994 , Accepted May 20, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1995, Vol. 38, 200-202. doi:10.1044/jshr.3801.200
History: Received March 7, 1994; Accepted May 20, 1994
This letter is intended to express our concern with the featured tutorial article on facilitated communication in the December 1993 issue of JSHR (Duchan, 1993). As representatives of the autism and augmentative and alternative communication (MC) research communities, and as editorial consultants for JSHR, we feel an obligation to express this concern. The article states that we have much to learn from research on facilitated communication (FC) when, in fact, scientific evidence is overwhelming that FC users are not communicating anything independently.
Facilitated communication is a discredited technique that has failed to demonstrate its validity in numerous trials. As of February 1994, there were 16 published articles that established that written output produced by FC is dependent on the facilitator, not the person with a disability (see references). Every controlled study has shown that when the facilitator does not know the question or the correct answer, the disabled person cannot provide the target response. Allegations of abuse, usually of sexual abuse, made through FC have been disallowed from court proceedings in numerous states on the basis of these findings. The JSHR article discussed only three controlled validation studies, giving the false impression that the validation literature is small. In fact, the extant literature refuting the validity of FC is extensive.
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