Facilitated Communication

Description: An intervention in which the service provider holds the participant’s hands, wrists, or arms to help him or her spell messages on a keyboard or a board with printed letters. Because it involves assistance from a facilitator, Facilitated Communication differs from independently typing or using a computerized device to assist communication.

Research Summary: Research evidence, replicated across several hundred children with autism spectrum disorders, shows that the facilitators rather than the individuals with autism spectrum disorders control the communication and that FC does not improve language skills (Mostert, 2001). Therefore, FC is an inappropriate intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Recommendations: Facilitated Communication is not a useful intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Selected References:

Systematic reviews of scientific studies:

Mostert, M. P. (2001). Facilitated communication since 1995: A review of published studies. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 287-313.

Position statements by professional organizations:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1993, October). Policy statement of facilitated communication. AACAP Newsletter, February 1994.

American Academy of Pediatrics (1998). Auditory integration training and facilitated communication for autism. Pediatrics, 102, 431-433.

American Association on Mental Retardation (1994). AAMR Board approves policy on facilitated communication. AAMR News & Notes, 7 (1), 1.

American Psychological Association (1994). Resolution on facilitated communication by the American Psychological Association. Adopted in Council, August 14, 1994, Los Angeles, California.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1995, March). Position statement on facilitated communication. ASHA, 37, 22.

Association for Behavior Analysis. (1995). Statement on facilitated communication. ABA Newsletter, 18 (2).