Facilitated Communication

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    I know this has been out a while but I just saw a book about this where non communicative kids with autism somehow communicate messages, many of them giving mussar “from Hashem”. I don’t know enough about it to say whether or not I belive it, has anyone seen it? Has it been proven or disporved?


    There are those that believe it and those that don’t. I personally don’t believe it. Ill believe it if you had one of these kids from a non frum or non Jewish family being facilitated by a non frum or non Jewish person saying this stuff. When that happens let me know.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Seen it done. It is real for some and not for others. Some kids will facilitate with some and not others. You have to know these types of kids to understand how that could be but I have been there when non-verbal kids gave over information that we checked up on. I have also seen those same kids refuse to respond to others.

    I strongly believe that anything that holds access to that much true information (in regard to Torah and emes) has to be surrounded in controversy or other opportunities for disbelief. That’s how we continue to have bechira.


    Of course I would LIKE to believe it, but I have doubts.

    What could remove those doubts would be if the autistic person communicated with the assistance of someone they don’t know, i.e. someone who does not know THEM – especially if the facilitator isn’t frum.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    They have done that they have even blindfolded the facilitators. I also saw a kid give an answer his dad wasn’t expecting (he said he liked apples and his dad, who was facilitating was sure he would say no). But it isn’t always real and you can’t know who to believe because these kids are so in tuned with you they can easily let you do the talking if they so choose. So the facilitator is not lying about what he sees, he just doesn’t realize he himself did the talking. Many are only facilitated by touching their elbow, it’s harder to force answers like that. You just can’t tell without knowing the kid/people involved, but you CAN’T disregard it because some of it is true.Even frum people don’t always have access to the information they are given and it takes a Gadol to verify it.


    Parshaman: You did not identify the book you saw, but there was a theory about “facilitated communication” for autistic children advanced by a professor at Syracuse University that was unequivocally debunked at least 15 years ago by a Harvard University professor. To make a long story extemely short, the debunker proved that the “communications” from the autistic children were in fact coming only from the facilitators and had nothing to do with the autistic children or what they were thinking.

    The debunking was a sad ending to a situation which supporters of the autistic children so much wanted to work. Part of what the debunker established was that the facilitators wanted so much to help the autistic children that they unconsiously faked the positive results. In some ways, the whole story demonstrates how intense belief and good faith can distort our perceptions of reality.

    ED IT OR

    this topic just gets me depressed

    I just can’t connect with autistic people


    Facilitated communication is mostly nonesense.

    I say mostly, because it can’t be stated definitely that it is NEVER real. most likely though, it is never real.


    It is very interesting but every single case of what these kids say are basically the same (at least what I have read). My guess is the facilliator is the same person and everything is coming from her/him.

    The first time I read it around 20 years ago, I thought, you know maybe it’s real. The second time, I felt it was less real. The third time, no way. They can’t all be saying the same kind of talk. For example they all speak about the egel hazahov. Sorry, it’s impossible they all have the same manner of speaking.

    So I don’t believe in it.


    That is one thing I noticed that they all basically said the same thing just a little different based on the situation of the person they were talking to, I don’t really believe but the stories were nice and there were still some good messages.


    Not necessarily were all the facilitators the same person, but it seems likely that they all went to the same seminary.

    This whole topic reminds me of the “near death experience” hype that was big in the 80’s. The frum velt picked up on it a little later (10+ years), as well. Both concepts make for great fiction writing. Whether there is any non-fiction to be written is doubtful, and certainly it is hard to believe it about every Tom, Dick, and Harry who is interviewed for a book. Gary Larson gave the best explanation for the NDE phenomenon.

    Kind of makes you wonder if all the facilitated conversations with gorillas were staged too. Just kidding, we know those are real. But I never knew of a gorilla who predicted moshiach.


    This whole facilitaing thing is reminiscent of our childhood game of playing with a ouija board (something I adamantly would oppose now, because in retrospect, I believe it smacks of tumah).

    Supposedly however, one got messages from “beyond” that were spelled out by holding onto a planchette that “moved” from letter to letter. Just as I believe those movements were either deliberate or from one’s own unconscious mind, I believe the same thing about facilitating someone to write an answer when he or she is autistic or otherwise unable to communicate verbally.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    So I’m lying then?


    I’ve seen it done without revealing futures or “prophesies” I’ve done it with a few neighbors children. Gedolim have witnessed it and agreed that it is real, but one must know how and when and for what to use it. Rabbi Wachtfogels family has used it with his son.

    A Yeshva in Eretz Yisroel uses it to teach and to learn with adults who are autistic.

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