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Learning about facilitated communication.

People who have difficulty communicating have often been presumed to be impaired in their ability to learn and understand the world they live in. Through the use of facilitated communication, however, we are learning that many children and adults with disabilities such as autism, severe cerebral palsy, mental retardation, Rett syndrome and many other developmental disabilities, can read, are attentive to their environments, have deep thoughts and feelings, and can communicate their thoughts with others.

Facilitated communication is a training method that supports people with disabilities to write through the use of physical person-to-person support. Typically, the person uses a typewriter, alphabet board, computer or hand-held device such as a Canon Communicator to spell words that communicate his or her thoughts and feelings. Physical support is provided at the person's hand, wrist or elbow by a facilitator, usually an adult who understands the method and has an ongoing relationship with the person. Facilitated communication was developed in Australia by Rosemary Crossley and introduced in the United States by Douglas Biklen, a faculty member and department chairman of the School of Education at Syracuse University.


The following is a list of the major resources for learning about the facilitated communication method.

* Workshops. Workshops on Facilitated Communication are held at Syracuse University four times a year. For information on upcoming workshops, please call the Office of Professional Development at (315) 443-5836.

* Publications. Biklen, D. (1990) "Communication unbound: Autism and praxis," Harvard Educational Review, 60, 291-314 ($2.00). Bilden, D.; Morton, M.W.; Saha, S.N.; Duncan, J.; Gold, D.; Hardardottir M.; Karna, E.; O'Connor, S.; and Rao, S. (1991) "I am not a utistivc on thje typ" ("I'm not autistic on the typewriter"), Disability Handicap and Society, 6, 3, 161-180 ($2.00).

Biklen, D. and Schubert, A. (1991). "New words: the communication of students with autism," Remedial and Special Education, 12 ($2.00).

* Videos. The training tapes are composed partly from research videotapes recorded using available light and natural sound conditions.

I'm not autistic on the typewriter: A 13-minute videotape introducing the FC training method. ($25.00), PAL version ($35.00).

Going to School with Facilitated Communication: A 14-minute videotape demonstrating how to use facilitated communication in regular schools and classrooms. ($35.00), PAL version ($35.00).

These publications and videos are available through Syracuse University's Facilitated Communication project. To order, please send a check or money order, payable to Syracuse University, to the Institute on Facilitated Communication, Syracuse University, Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation, 805 S. Crouse Ave., Syracuse, N.Y. 13244-2280. Purchase orders are also accepted. Telephone orders will not be accepted.

* Also Available. A separate article, written by Doug Bilden for parents, can be obtained through the Center on Human Policy. For a complimentary copy of this article, write to Rachael Zubal, Center on Human Policy, 200 Huntington Hall, Syracuse, N.Y. 13244-2340.
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Title Annotation:Networking: Information from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
Author:Shoultz, Bonnie
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:Friends of the Network.
Next Article:Creating opportunities for communication.

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