Update: Joint Study Section on Facilitated Communication In November 1994, after a technical report on Facilitated Communication, the ASHA Legislative Council passed the following position statement (LC 51–94): Facilitated Communication is a technique by which a “facilitator” provides physical and other supports in an attempt to assist a person with a significant communication disability to ... SIG News
SIG News  |   May 01, 1998
Update: Joint Study Section on Facilitated Communication
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Steve Calculator
    Department of Communication Disorders, University of New Hampshire, Durham
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / SIG News
SIG News   |   May 01, 1998
Update: Joint Study Section on Facilitated Communication
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, May 1998, Vol. 7, 12-13. doi:10.1044/aac7.2.12
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, May 1998, Vol. 7, 12-13. doi:10.1044/aac7.2.12
In November 1994, after a technical report on Facilitated Communication, the ASHA Legislative Council passed the following position statement (LC 51–94):

Facilitated Communication is a technique by which a “facilitator” provides physical and other supports in an attempt to assist a person with a significant communication disability to point out pictures, objects, printed letters and words, or to a keyboard. Personal accounts and qualitative descriptions suggest that messages produced using this technique may reveal previously undetected literacy and communication skills in people with autism and other disabilities. When information available to facilitators is controlled and objective evaluation methods are used, peer-reviewed studies and clinical assessments find no conclusive evidence that facilitated messages can be reliably attributed to people with disabilities. Rather, most messages originate with the facilitator. Moreover, Facilitated Communication may have negative consequences if it precludes the use of effective and appropriate treatment, supplants other forms of communication, and/or leads to false or unsubstantiated allegations of abuse or mistreatment.

It is the position of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that the scientific validity and reliability of Facilitated Communication have not been demonstrated to date. Information obtained through or based on Facilitated Communication should not form the sole basis for making any diagnostic or treatment decisions.

ASHA strongly supports continued research and clinical efforts to develop scientifically valid methods for developing or enhancing the independent communication and literacy skills of people with disabilities.

Speech-language pathologists are autonomous professionals who are responsible for critically evaluating all treatment techniques in order to hold paramount the welfare of persons served in accordance with the ASHA Code of Ethics. Speech-language pathologists should inform prospective clients and their families or guardians that currently the scientific validity and reliability of Facilitated Communication have not been established, and should obtain their informed consent before using the technique. (ASHA, 1994).

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