Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"'Helping' Autistic People to Speak" Summary

Journal 14: Summary 7:

This Article was linked to the other Time Magazine article I summarized called “Inside the Autistic Mind”. It is written by the same author, Claudia Wallis, and is just as interesting as the last. The article is about facilitated communication, a method of communication used by autistic individuals. With this method a keyboard is usually used by the autistic person to type their thoughts. In most cases another person, called the facilitator, helps to steady and guide the autistic individual in their communication. Sometimes physical support is needed for example leaning on a shoulder, or holding a hand. The method is somewhat controversial. Some claim that it is really the facilitator doing the communicating. In studies where the facilitator was separated from the autistic individual, a small number of facilitators were shown to be communicating their own feelings and not those of the autistic individual. The facilitators were not shown to be purposefully guiding the communication but rather were unaware of that they were leading the conversations. In more cases than not it was shown to be successful, however there are still problems with the system. Loved ones can inadvertently guide ones communications without realizing it, but for those who have learned to use facilitated Communication without physical support it has changed their lives. Being able to communicate with the world gives a purpose to living as Chandima Rajapatirana says through his keyboard "FC doesn’t cure you, but it gives you a reason to live." The effects of this form of communication on an autistic individual’s life can obviously be seen in this statement.

Works cited:

Wallis, Claudia . “’Helping’ Autistic People to Speak”. Time 10 May 2006. 7 Mar. 2007 <,8599,1192775,00.html>

*Photograph from Time Magazine. Chandima Rajapatirana uses facilitated communication to speak with his mother, Anoja, who is also one of his facilitators.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

I am glad there is some promising help out there for autistic people. Hopefully their is more that will be discovered. I was a little surprized when I read what Chandima Rajapatirana said. It makes me wonder is autistic people feel like they have no purpose in life or if most don't even know the difference.