Despite the overwhelming evidence against its effectiveness, facilitated communication continues to be used and marketed as a legitimate treatment for autism.
This page is meant to function as a growing list of resources to help inform parents, instructors, students, and practitioners about the dangers of facilitated communication.
Information for this page is collected from a variety of sources, and this page is being continuously updated as new articles and information emerges. Special thanks to Dr. Jim Todd’s Twitter feed, in particular.
Statement on Facilitated Communication by the American Psychological Association
Statement on Facilitated Communication by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association
Statement on Facilitated Communication by the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Compilation of Position Statements courtesy of the Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan
The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield – NY Times article by Daniel Engber
Ex-Rutgers Prof Admits It Was a Crime To Have Sex with Disabled Man – NJ.com article by Thomas Moriarty
Double Talk: Syracuse University Institute Continues to Use Discredited Technique with Dangerous Effects – Daily Orange article by Michael Burke
Educator Trained in Discredited Communication Method at Syracuse University Pleads Guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct – Daily Orange article by Michael Burke
Apple’s Autism Ad of Magical Thinking – Article by Jules Montague
Why Communication from a ‘Locked-in’ Child is a Miracle We Must Question – Article by Christopher French and Michael Marshall
Why a Controversial Method for Autism Communication Hasn’t Disappeared – Article by James Elliott
The Enduring Legend of the Changeling – Article by Stuart Vyse
How a Teacher’s “Junk Science” Landed a Dad in Jail on Charge of Raping His Autistic Son – Article by David Ovalle and Kyra Gurney
Facilitated Communication Rears Its Ugly Head Again – Article by Steven Novella, MD
Daughter of Wolsingham Man Kept in Secure Unit for 6 Months Following False Abuse Allegations – Article published in the Northern Echo
Stolen Voices: Facilitated Communication is an Abuse of Human Rights – Article by Jeff Chan and Karen Nankervis
Facilitated Communication Denies People With Disabilities Their Voice – Article by Jason Travers, Matt Tincani, and Russ Lang
Journalism Gone Awry
Unfortunately, many journalists have not done their due-diligence to understand facilitated communication and the lack of research supporting it. Instead, journalists have sensationalized facilitated communication and passed it off as a miracle cure. Or, journalists pass facilitated communication off as “controversial” and present both sides, as if there are two sides to present. The following articles serve as examples of how uninformed journalism can spread false information about facilitated communication.
Judicial Oversight Gone Awry
Court May Consider Facilitated Communication – An Indiana court ruled to allow an individual to use facilitated communication as testimony, despite the overwhelming evidence that suggests it is the facilitator, not the individual, who is communicating.