Facilitated Communication Redux: Commentary on Wheeler, Jacobson, Schwartz, and Paglieri (1996) Facilitated communication remains a controversial intervention approach, one that has parallels to the proverbial genie in a bottle who keeps escaping at unexpected times. Just when the resolution of message authorship has apparently been put to rest, at least from some perspectives, along come others who want to let ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   February 01, 1996
Facilitated Communication Redux: Commentary on Wheeler, Jacobson, Schwartz, and Paglieri (1996)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elaine R. Silliman
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders University of South Florida Tampa, FL 33620
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   February 01, 1996
Facilitated Communication Redux: Commentary on Wheeler, Jacobson, Schwartz, and Paglieri (1996)
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1996, Vol. 39, 219-221. doi:10.1044/jshr.3901.219
History: Received July 21, 1995 , Accepted September 20, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1996, Vol. 39, 219-221. doi:10.1044/jshr.3901.219
History: Received July 21, 1995; Accepted September 20, 1995
Facilitated communication remains a controversial intervention approach, one that has parallels to the proverbial genie in a bottle who keeps escaping at unexpected times. Just when the resolution of message authorship has apparently been put to rest, at least from some perspectives, along come others who want to let the genie loose again. Those, like Wheeler, Jacobson, Schwartz, and Paglieri, who yearn to have this supposedly “unscientific” genie sealed permanently in the bottle revisit the same empirical arguments. Controlled studies have consistently demonstrated that message authorship is not independent, but the product of “unconscious facilitator influence.” The focus of these studies, as Wheeler et al. note, is validation. According to their interpretation, message authenticity is not the same as documenting whether communication is functional for those who participate in validation studies. I could not agree more with this assessment of the dichotomy created when researchers have different theories of mind (Baron-Cohen, 1995; Wellman, 1990) about language and communication.
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