Thursday, November 18, 2010

Research Supporting FC User Authorship

The controversy with FC questions whether FC users are typing – authoring - their own words or whether facilitators are directing FC users to type.  Here’s a list of some of the studies that support FC user authorship.

Bundschuh, K. & Basler-Eggen, A. (2000). Abschlussbericht zur Studie, Getutzte Kommunication bei Menschen mit schwern Kommunikationsstotwigen. Munich: Bayerisches Staatsministerium fur Arbeit und Sozialordunung, Famile, Fauren and Gesundheit.
In a facilitator blind condition, 6 of 7 students proved they had cognitive capabilities – defined as the ability to solve multiple-choice tasks on mathematics, translations from English to German, geography, biology, and other knowledge.

Cardinal, D.N., Hanson, D. & Wakeham, J. (1996). Investigation of authorship in facilitated communication. Mental Retardation, 34, 231-242.

This study involved 43 students across 10 classrooms.  The two main findings from this study are: (1) Under controlled conditions, some FC users can pass information to a facilitator when that facilitator is not aware of the information.  (2) The measurements of facilitated communication under test conditions may be significantly benefited by extensive practice of the test protocol.  This latter result could partially account for the inability of several past studies to verify FC user originated input (238).

 Emerson, A., Grayson, A., & Griffins, A. (2001) Can’t or Won’t?  Evidence relating to authorship in facilitated communication.  International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 36 (Supp), 98-103.

This study involved 14 participants who had been introduced to FC. “Evidence from this project shows similar findings to many of the published studies that conclude, having undertaken controlled tests that FC is not a valid strategy to use.  However, evidence from the same project also suggests that the overall picture with regard to FC may be more complex than this.  The same participants who do not provide authorship evidence in controlled trails provide data which indicate that they are authoring their communications when given the opportunity to communicate about things of their own choosing (100).

Niemi, J. & Karna-Lin, E. (2002). Grammar and lexicon in facilitated communication: A linguistic authorship analysis of a Finnish case. Mental Retardation, 40, 347-357.

Based on the analysis (i.e. the idiosyncrasy and agrammaticality of word forms and sentences), we strongly suggest that [this young man’s] output can hardly be a product of any other speaker of Finnish, including that of his facilitators. 

Sheehan, C. & Matuozzi, R. (1996). Investigation of the validty of facilitated communication through disclosure of unknown information. Mental Health, 34, 94-107. 

“Three individuals (8, 10, and 24 years old with diagnoses of autism and mental retardation) participated in a message-passing format to determine whether they could disclose information previously unknown to their facilitators.  Results reveal valid facilitated communication from each participant (94).

“The data from the current study lead us to caution that a phenomena as facilitated communication eludes a cursory exploration.  Each participant was able to disclose information accurately and deftly at times and was wholly inadequate in his or her attempts at other times… The developing picture of an individual’s validity profile replete with the patterns of required support, inconsistency, language impairment, and strides towards independence may well be the only reasonable evaluation of a validity confidence level (104).

Tuzzi, A., Cemin, M. Castagna, M. (2004) “Moved deeply I am” Autisc language in texts produced with FC. Journees internationals d’Analyse statistique des Donnees Textuelleds, 7, 1-9.

Using texts produced through FC, this work is aimed at identifying the characteristic features of the language used by autistic subjects and understanding when thee distinctive elements may distinguish it from the language of facilitators.  Preliminary results show that autistic subjects actually use a special style of writing; this finding supports the hypothesis that texts are the fruit of the individual production of autistic subjects, not inevitably by facilitators. 

Weiss, M., Wagner, S., & Bauman, M (1996). A validated case study of facilitated communication.  Mental Retardation, 34, 220-230.

“The case of a 13 year old boy with autism, severe mental retardation and a seizure disorder who was able to demonstrate valid facilitated communication is described (220).

Zanobini, M. & Scopesi, A. (2001).  La comunicazione facilitate in un bambino autistico. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 5, 395-421.

Transcriptions of Facilitated communicative interactions between among a 7 year old autistic boy, his mother, and his teacher were studied using the Sphinx Lexica software program.  “The results show evidence of stylistic consistency but variation according to location at home or school and interaction with the mother or teacher.  The results suggest that the boy’s original and peculiar linguistic behavior may indicate a degree of linguistic independence from facilitation.”

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