Coordinator’s Corner Although the basic theme of this Coordinator's Corner is the same as that of many previous comments, the approach is different. Excerpts from two letters, written by affiliates who returned the Response Form they received with their Welcome Letter, are used to briefly discuss two activities critical to the ... Coordinator's Column
Coordinator's Column  |   May 01, 1998
Coordinator’s Corner
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Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Coordinator's Column
Coordinator's Column   |   May 01, 1998
Coordinator’s Corner
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, May 1998, Vol. 7, 1-3. doi:10.1044/aac7.2.1
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, May 1998, Vol. 7, 1-3. doi:10.1044/aac7.2.1
Although the basic theme of this Coordinator's Corner is the same as that of many previous comments, the approach is different. Excerpts from two letters, written by affiliates who returned the Response Form they received with their Welcome Letter, are used to briefly discuss two activities critical to the vitality of our division and improved augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) service delivery. This is the first year I have written individuals about their Response Form comments. In the past, they were printed and distributed to the Steering Committee and various other committees as one of our major sources of written input for division direction and activities. The other major source of written input is your response to specific requests such as those on page 13 and the attached Response Form. Our major source of spoken input is your participation in our annual affiliates' meeting (see the Convention Sneak Preview). However, the comments of one affiliate were particularly timely relating to both the peer review of the facilitated communication (FC) guidelines (see page 10) and some activities the Board of Division Coordinators (BDC) began at the March meeting that will be the focus of discussion at the July BDC meeting. Therefore, I sent the following:

Thank you for taking the time to provide input to your division through the annual response form. Input from these response forms is reviewed by our Newsletter Committee, Continuing Education Committee, and the Steering Committee. Your Steering Committee looks forward to recommendations from the other committees relative to your comments. In the interim, I want to respond to your specific comment that “Research should test the validity of those ‘new’ therapies that continually come up and put parents and children on roller coasters.”

During recent years, our Steering Committee has attempted to maintain a balance of practical application material and an increased emphasis on using research as the basis of our clinical practice. For example, the 1996 division-sponsored Short Course topic was from research to practice. We also worked very extensively with the 1997 and 1998 Convention Committees to include greater attention to research in other Convention sessions. You will be pleased to see that the 1998 Convention will include several sessions emphasizing research as a basis of AAC practice.

More specifically, related to your comment about “new therapies,” our division has a joint study section working with Division 1 in attempting to develop guidelines for the experimental use of facilitated communication (FC). As you know, there is a considerable amount of research that has brought into question the authorship of FC output. In 1994, ASHA passed a position statement indicating that the procedure was not valid and that information obtained through FC should not be used for major decisions unless it is corroborated in other ways. With the question of the validity of the approach, any use of FC should be considered as an experimental treatment and, therefore, subject to review by an institutional review board (IRB) and conducted much as anyone would any trial or experimental treatment, including informed consent. Because some clinicians still wish to use FC in spite of its questionable validity, Divisions 1 and 12 have collaborated through a joint study section to develop guidelines. As you will note in our newsletter, a brief updating of that FC study section has been prepared by Stephen Calculator, the chair of our three representatives on the joint study section. ‥ I hope you will request a copy of the document and take time to review it carefully and offer your comments relative to your concerns about the validity of new therapies. It is only through the direct input of individuals such as yourself that the study section will be able to revise the document to provide adequate guidance for those wishing to use FC within an appropriate framework of ASHA's position statement on FC.

Your comments are also very timely relative to some activities recently initiated by the Board of Division Coordinators (BDC). We are seeking ways of helping practitioners make greater use of research. Please send me any specific ideas you have about a greater use of research as the bases for AAC practice and service delivery.

Again, thank you for taking the time to provide input to your division. We look forward to your participation.

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