Thanks to Ido Kedar‘s calling attention to it, I’m excited to see news that the Accepted Position on “Facilitated Communication” is not only bunkus, but demonstrably bunkus. The Usual Suspects haven’t chimed in, AFAIK, but the linked study asserts a pretty firm case for letter-board communication being (frequently, if not usually) real and legitimate communication by autistic non-speakers. The textbook position has long been that non-speaking autists are not only incapable of speech but of any and all language, and that ABA is the only Proven And Effective treatment.
In fact, ABA is only helpful for those “milder” cases when the patient is verbally responsive and has a more-than-once-a-week relationship with the therapist, so far as I can tell. Most of the nonverbals I’ve seen remark on it have decried and denounced it as doing more harm than good. This study, tracking eye movement during letterboard use, doesn’t touch on ABA at all but it does validate the voices of those non-speaking detractors of it as voices, and as human voices, they have a right to be heard. And to hear the Gospel directly.