Validation of Facilitated Communication A Case Study and Beyond Clinical Focus: Case Study
Clinical Focus: Case Study  |   February 01, 1995
Validation of Facilitated Communication
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stephen N. Calculator
    University of New Hampshire, Durham
  • Elizabeth R. Hatch
    University of New Hampshire, Durham
  • Contact author: Stephen N. Calculator, PhD, Department of Communication Disorders–Hewitt Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824
Article Information
Clinical Focus / Case Study
Clinical Focus: Case Study   |   February 01, 1995
Validation of Facilitated Communication
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 1995, Vol. 4, 49-58. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0401.49
History: Received August 4, 1993 , Accepted September 1, 1994
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 1995, Vol. 4, 49-58. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0401.49
History: Received August 4, 1993; Accepted September 1, 1994

This study reports the results of an attempt to validate a young adult's use of facilitated communication. The individual, Philip, had made allegations of sexual abuse against his father. These allegations were conveyed to two facilitators, one a special education teacher and the other an instructional aide. A comprehensive battery of procedures was developed and then administered to examine the likelihood that Philip could have authored the allegations. Results of the assessment failed to support Philip's possessing the necessary communication skills to have authored the allegations. Charges against his father were subsequently dismissed.

While findings of this investigation cannot be generalized beyond Philip, the procedures and accompanying rationale may be useful to other examiners who are engaged in validation activities with facilitated communicators. Implications and proposed guidelines for testing the validation of this method of communication are presented.

Acknowledgment
The authors wish to acknowledge the support of staff associated with the UNH Institute on Disabilities–UAP (Mary Schuh, Marsha Clark, Carol Tashie, Michael McSheehan, Cheryl Jorgensen, and Jan Nisbet). Their often contrasting views and opinions regarding issues addressed in this paper were instrumental in helping the authors maintain a degree of balance on a controversial topic. The authors are also indebted to Philip and his family, who were anxious to share the results of this investigation with others in order to advance our understanding of facilitated communication.
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