Abstract

Despite lack of empirical support, facilitated communication was rapidly adopted and used with individuals who have severe communication disorders. An overview of the psychological literature was provided here to support theoretical explanations for this rapid adoption. The literature suggests that cognitive biases, ambiguous stimuli, and biases in data may be associated with a tendency to adopt interventions such as facilitated communication. Psychosocial influences associated with autism, the helping relationship, and the professional career cycle may enhance a readiness to adopt alternative treatments. Social influences may create an environment in which fads arise. Suggestions were provided for students and professionals in the broad fields of rehabilitation and education on how to improve their participation in developing and monitoring innovative treatment methods.

The authors thank Dacher Keltner, Julie Gamradt, Mary Klund, Kenneth R. Thomas, and two anonymous reviewers who provided thoughtful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. We also thank the members of the Case Studies on Facilitated Communication project, Trace Research and Development Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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