Autism and Facilitators - PBS Frontline 10/19/93

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& FROM CHUCK TUCKER 931020 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

   Quite be accident last night I saw parts of a program titled
   "Prisoners of Silence" on PBS. The main point of the propgram
   was to examine a recently developed procedure for teaching
   autistic children to communicate so they can be mainstreamed
   into the schools and society. The program had so many interesting
   aspects to it I can not mention them all so I will mention just
   those that we have talked about recently on the net. I encourage
   all to see this program on PBS or get a copy of it for your own
   viewing.

   There seems to be overwhelming evidence that the child does not
   communicate but the facilitator makes the child's hand touch the
   letters or numbers on a board and so the facilitator is actually
   moving the hand to the letter and number. NO ONE NOTICED UNTIL
   THIS REPORT THAT THE CHILD NEVER LOOKS AT THE BOARD - THERE IS
   NO FEEDBACK FOR THE CHILD - SO HOW COULD HE COMMUNICATE OR EVEN
   KNOW WHAT HIS HAND IS TOUCHING. It was also pointed out (this is
   a demonstration that all of you can do now) that is is not
   possible for a person to spell out words on the keyboard w/o
   first homing the fingers unless he/she looks at the board (as I
   do since I am a lousy typist). Try to type a word w/o looking at
   board or homing your fingers. It can't be done. But that is
   what the autistic child was supposed to be doing.

   None of the facilitators, those who train facilitators, or the
   parents will believe the research data. A professor who trains
   facilitators at Syracuse University when told about the data
   and examined the studies still would not believe the results.
   His program continues.

   I demonstrated this for my classes today by asking a student to
   touch letters on the board and they could not do it unless they
   were looking at the board. The fact that the facilitators are
   moving the child's hand is so obvious that it is startling.

   I hope that someone has the data on this because it would be
   interesting to see how good it is and important for making a
   number of points relevant to PCT.

                         Regards, Chuck