[Athen] facilitated communication

Adina Mulliken am2621 at hunter.cuny.edu
Thu Jul 7 13:09:39 PDT 2016

Hi Andrea,

I also worked at Syracuse University (hi George!) and I attended masters level courses in the Disability Studies program with students who use facilitated communication (aka typing to talk). I also met several other people who use typing to talk who were not in my classes. There was a VERY wide variety among the different people I met. Some had used typing to talk in the past and now they speak aloud verbally.

My understanding is that the controversy about typing to talk/ facilitated communication was mostly a thing of the past. There was a 60 minutes episode a few decades ago that highlighted some problematic situations where facilitators probably weren't properly trained. However, now it's documented that there are people who have moved from typing to talk into speaking aloud verbally. As George said below, the helper has to know what they are doing. In my class, it was clear that the student who was typing to talk was controlling her own hand. The helper's hand was nowhere near the student's hand.

Faculty at Syracuse University work with facilitated communication and I think they offer some support to schools that are working with it. If you want, I'd be happy to "introduce" you via email to some of them, and there's info about it here http://soe.syr.edu/centers_institutes/institute_communication_inclusion/default.aspx .

Good luck with it!


Adina Mulliken
Assistant Professor, Librarian
Social Work and Public Health Library
Hunter College, CUNY
Phone: 212-396-7665

Message: 4

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2016 19:54:29 +0000

From: "Irwin, George" <girwin2 at hccfl.edu<mailto:girwin2 at hccfl.edu>>

To: Access Technology Higher Education Network

<athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>

Subject: Re: [Athen] facilitated communication


<C440717C068F1A45927AA6FA278BD10E02210B91 at HCC-MBX-02.family.hccfl.edu<mailto:C440717C068F1A45927AA6FA278BD10E02210B91 at HCC-MBX-02.family.hccfl.edu>>

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Good Afternoon Andrea,

In my past life, I worked a Syracuse University where two education professor worked on creating Facilitated Communication. I will start by saying it is slow where we speak at 145 to 165 words per minute, the facilitated communication user may be communicating at 5 to 6 words a minute or less depending on the disability. Some users have a talking keyboard which letters are typed and words formed. I understand now with word prediction if you can get two or three letters a possible word bank pops s and the student can choose the word

Now for the more controversial is when an aide guides the students hands to the letters on the key board. The question is "is it the student or is it the aide speaking, The aide needs to go through special training to do this.

Yet some students use flip charts (real low Tech) which means the instructor needs to keep an eye out for a possible response/question from the student.

The more the student can do, the easier will be the buy in with the instructor,

I wish you well on this.

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Andrea J Engle

Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 3:35 PM

To: athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>

Subject: [Athen] facilitated communication

We were wondering if anyone has any experience with facilitated communication at the college level? There is a student who would like to attend the university who uses facilitated communication. We are unsure of the student's diagnosis (documentation has not been provided). However, it does not appear that the student has motor control in any meaningful way. From the research we have done facilitated communication is not an accepted or reliable source of communication. Can anyone please help in providing us any feedback on your experiences with this communication method? Is there better technology that could assist a student with communicating? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Andrea Engle

Alternative Media Specialist

Cleveland State University


a.engle at csuohio.edu<mailto:a.engle at csuohio.edu<mailto:a.engle at csuohio.edu%3cmailto:a.engle at csuohio.edu>>

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