Facilitated Communication

Facilitated communication (FC) is a process by which a facilitator supports the hand or arm of a communicatively impaired individual while using a keyboard or other devices with the aim of helping the individual to develop pointing skills and to communicate. The procedure is controversial, since a majority of peer reviewed scientific studies conclude that the typed language output attributed to the clients is directed or systematically determined by the therapists who provide facilitated assistance.

Some neurologists and psychologists believe there is a high incidence of dyspraxia, or difficulty with planning and/or executing voluntary movement, among such individuals, and that this is alleviated by a facilitator’s manual support. Proponents of FC suggest that some people with autism and moderate and profound mental retardation may have ‘undisclosed literacy,’ or the capacity for other symbolic communication, consistent with higher intellectual functioning than has been presumed.

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