Facilitated communication rsefers to a procedure in which a communication partner, called a facilitator, provides physical assistance to an individual with limited speech ability while that individual types out messages or selects letters, pictures, or symbols (Smith & Ryndak, 1996). Physical assistance includes support to the individual's hand or wrist and ideally is faded out over time by moving support from the hand or wrist to the arm, elbow, or shoulder (Smith & Ryndak, 1996). Proponents of facilitated communication have maintained that through this procedure, individuals with severe disabilities have been able to display unexpected levels of skills and abilities (Biklen, 1993). The asserted benefits of facilitated communication have contributed to the rapid growth of its use, not only in the United States but also in many other countries (Hudson, 1995).

In contrast to the growing...

You do not currently have access to this content.