Successful Use of Facilitated Communication With an Oral Child A 6½ -year-old child’s oral and spelled utterances were compared over a 3-month period as he was trained to use Facilitated Communication (FC), a method of augmentative and alternative communication. The child’s language with FC was significantly better than his oral language in length of utterances, novelty of utterances, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1995
Successful Use of Facilitated Communication With an Oral Child
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • M. Lori Janzen-Wilde
    St. Joseph's Hospital and Home Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Judith Felson Duchan
    State University of New York at Buffalo
  • D. Jeffery Higginbotham
    State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Contact author: Judith F. Duchan, Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, 109 Park Hall, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260. E-mail: duchan@acsu.buffalo.edu
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1995
Successful Use of Facilitated Communication With an Oral Child
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 658-676. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.658
History: Received August 25, 1993 , Accepted December 12, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 658-676. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.658
History: Received August 25, 1993; Accepted December 12, 1994

A 6½ -year-old child’s oral and spelled utterances were compared over a 3-month period as he was trained to use Facilitated Communication (FC), a method of augmentative and alternative communication. The child’s language with FC was significantly better than his oral language in length of utterances, novelty of utterances, and syntactic complexity. His language with FC also contained more function words and over time was more intelligible and required less verbal scaffolding than his oral communication. Evidence that he was authoring his own messages during his facilitated spelling was found in his idiosyncratic use of language and his ability to convey verifiable information that was unknown to the facilitator. The strongest evidence came later with his ability to type messages without physical support. The results suggest the potential for using FC with children who have some functional oral skills but cannot express themselves fully in the oral modality. The method can serve as a means of investigating language potential and as a transition to literacy and independent typed communication.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Andy, his family and teachers, Rae Sonnenmeier, and Ken Wilde for their insights and support as this study was being developed and carried out, as well as Martin Fujiki, Dana Kovarsky, and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments.
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