Lets start by giving you a bit of background.
What is Facilitated Communication?
FC is a claimed mechanism where 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.
Does it really work?
No, its complete bollocks. The procedure is totally discredited. Virtually all well-controlled peer reviewed scientific studies conclude that the typed language output attributed to the clients is directed or systematically determined by the facilitators.
OK, so why does any of this really matter? Well, we have a truly shocking story that goes back to 2008 when the Oakland County prosecutor choose to embrace FC as a legitimate means of obtaining information from a child, in this specific instance, the severely autistic daughter of Mr and Mrs Wendrow. As a result of the FC output, both Mr and Mrs Wendrow were prosecuted and jailed after being accused of sexually assaulting their child, even though a physical exam showed no sign of such an assault. The girl, 14, and her brother, 13, were also placed into foster care.
Now, skip back a paragraph and remember, FC has been extensively tested and been proven to be complete bullshit. Yet, when a school aide, using FC, had typed out a dreadful story, (which if true, would have called for police action), the Oakland County prosecutor choose to embrace and use it. This was pure inept stupidity caused by their complete ignorance.
It is quite frankly astonishing … in spite of literally having no evidence of any kind of abuse, other than this Facilitated Communication nonsense, which is in effect a Ouija board, both parents and jailed and the kids go into foster care.
The good news is that the truth finally came to the surface.
Someone decided to actually look into the procedure as it was used on the girl, and discovered that without an “agent” holding her hand while closely watching the keyboard and directing her hand, this afflicted little lady was unable to type a single answer to any questions posed to her in district court!
So now, it should be no surprise to learn that the family sued in federal court alleging 38 counts of false imprisonment, wrongful prosecution and other atrocities. They latest news is that they have been awarded a $1.8 million settlement.
Sadly, the FC bullshit is still with us and has some flag carriers such as Professor Douglas Biklen – a sociologist and professor of special education Syracuse University– and by others who have chosen to ride this dreadful mare all the way to Hell.
But who are the true villains here? A good candidate for that would be the Oakland County prosecutors who admitted in depositions that they didn’t investigate the FC method prior to bringing their charges, and could not find anyone to support the method as reliable, despite nationwide inquiries after the arrests, yet they went ahead and pursued the prosecution.
Your can read more about this on the JREF here. The story is also reported in the Detroit Free Press here, and AOL news here.