Writing for MSNBC, Brian Alexander provided a thorough examination of the history and devastating consequences of some facilitated communication (FC). After making quick reference to the case of Rom Houben that has been in the news recently, in “Dark shadows loom over ‘facilitated’ talk: Opening minds or telling tales? Michigan family torn apart by abuse claims,” describes the wrenching effects of facilitated accusations of sexual abuse on the family of Aislinn Wendrow.
On Nov. 27, 2007, just a few days after returning to school from Thanksgiving break, 14-year-old Aislinn Wendrow created a shock wave by saying her father had “banged” her. Aislinn didn’t say it, exactly; she typed it on the keyboard of a digital device with the help of Cynthia Scarsella, her facilitator and an employee of Michigan’s Walled Lake school district.
The Wendrows’ story is not news; the charges against the parents were dropped in September 2008. Mr. Alexander intertwines the story of the Wendrow family’s nightmare with FC with the story of how FC was developed, adopted, challenged and found wanting, and yet is still being promoted. It’s an example of good journalism.
Link to “Dark shadows loom over ‘facilitated’ talk.” For more about the case of Mr. Houben, see “Deserving a careful test” on Spedpro. For more about the case of the Wendrows, see L. L. Brasier’s “Parents cleared in sex case file suit: Our autistic kids suffered, they say” from the Freep.