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FAQs - AAC + facilitated communication (FC)

FAQs

  • What is facilitated communication?

Facilitated communication is form of AAC in which people with communication impairments and disabilities express themselves by pointing at pictures, letters or objects, or by typing.

It involves a communication partner who gives physical or communication supports and encouragement.

It is also called Facilitated Communication Training (FCT) because it aims to develop independent or almost independent communication either through typing or a combination of speaking and typing.

It is a controversial system as some researchers believe that using a facilitator means that the user might not be directing the communication.

  • Who can use it?

It can be used by people with a wide range of conditions including autism, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy and acquired brain injuries who have not been able to use other strategies such as signs, writing or communication aids effectively.

  • What is a facilitator?

A facilitator is the person who is supporting the FC user to access their communication system. The amount of facilitation needed can vary from just a hand resting on the users shoulder to holding the users hand and enabling their index finger to be isolated. The facilitator should not move or lead the user.

  • Will it help them talk?

The initial aim is to enable the user to make choices. Some users go on to be able to communicate through typing with very little support, or a combination of typing and speaking.


Links:

Case Story: Heidi's experiences with facilitated communication

Can the facilitated communication method support autistic people, according to facilitators' opinions?

Hidden communicative competence: Case study evidence using eye-tracking and video analysis

Institute on Communication and Inclusion


Although this information is believed to be accurate, you are strongly advised to make your own independent enquiries.

Last updated January 2014

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