Although every field has its moments, speech-language pathology is not generally known for high levels of controversy and drama. In the AAC world, the glaring exception to that is Facilitated Communication (FC). FC has had many critics and supporters (e.g., Syracuse University’s FC Center, now the Institute on Communication and Inclusion). The editors of Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, Drs. Ralf Schlosser and Jeff Sigafoos, have graciously allowed us to share a link to a paper by a former FC facilitator which appears in the EBP Speaker’s Corner section of the journal. You may download the article for free until June at: http://bit.ly/I7JEt4 .
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Wishes are wonderful things, seducing us with their promise and possibility. So with the luck o’ the Irish in mind, we’re sending forth a wish for something intangible, the big O: Opportunity. — Our AAC wish list for this month is all about opportunities. Opportunity. It has such a nice ring to it. Our parents and teachers tried to prepare us to recognize opportunity, and promised us that it would come knocking. – But sometimes the knock of AAC opportunity is drowned out by other things. Sometimes we just don’t hear it. We may miss the opportunity to teach a new clinician how to expand the language of a teenager learning to use a speech generating device. We may miss the chance to create the teachable moment for a child just learning to use AAC to make a comment. We might miss the opportunity to encourage a parent to give... [Read More...]
Imagine having one key communication strategy and no one knew that it existed. This horrifying experience was documented in the book ‘I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes,’ the autobiography of Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer. For years, she effectively used eye gaze with her family to answer yes/no questions, but when Ruth was placed at a residential facility, things eventually changed. Staff turnover, something we’re all familiar with, was the culprit. With time, new staff came in and didn’t realize that Ruth communicated with her eyes. Ruth was silenced for years until someone noticed that her ‘eyes up’ movement wasn’t reflexive or random. She was talking, but no one was listening. — While this was an extreme example, most AAC practitioners can recount their own stories of people whose AAC messages weren’t effectively translated once they moved to new settings. The transition to a new environment, where untrained partners may fail to recognize... [Read More...]