Disability and Facilitated Communication

A Critique
  • Alan Hudson
Part of the Advances in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ACCP, volume 17)


Extensive controversy has developed in relation to the use of what is termed facilitated communication, or more recently, facilitated communication training. The procedure can be considered to be part of the general field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). AAC is a global term used to refer to methods of communicating that replace or supplement ordinary methods such as speech and handwriting (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1992; College of Speech Therapists, 1989). AAC methods typically involve people with disabilities in the use of manual procedures such as signing, or in the use of communication boards, or finally in the use of electronic equipment. In general, AAC methods are used independently by the disabled person. Facilitated communication has been defined in various ways, but the most frequent definition is “a teaching strategy, used to help people with severe communication impairments develop the hand skills needed to use communication aids independently” (Crossley, 1992b, p. 43). The technique usually involves some form of physical assistance by another person, called a facilitator, to help the speech-impaired person accurately point at letters or push keys on a communication device of some sort. The letters then spell out the intended message. The communication device may be a high-technology device such as a computer, or a low-technology communication device such as an alphabet board.


Cerebral Palsy Intellectual Disability Literacy Skill Disable People Physical Assistance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Hudson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Intellectual Disability StudiesRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyBundooraAustralia

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