What is a severe communication impairment?
Communication is the passing of information from one person to another by any means –
Individuals are described as having severe communication impairments when their speech, pointing, and/or handwriting are insufficient to meet their communication needs. The term is usually used when the person has no use of speech or very limited use of speech or handwriting.
What is apraxia?
Apraxia is the inability to execute a voluntary motor movement despite being able to demonstrate normal muscle function. Apraxia is not related to a lack of understanding or to any kind of physical paralysis but is caused by a problem in the cortex of the brain. (Medicine.net, 2007). For individuals with autism and other developmental disorders movement disorders of their hands, body, and mouth can affect their ability to communicate understanding and self.
What is AAC?
Augmentative and Alternate Communication is a term used to describe means other than speaking to communicate. This can involve use of low tech communication systems such as sign language, written words, or picture symbols, or high tech systems which include the use of speech generated devices, and computer based systems.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. For example, people with limited hand function may use a keyboard with large keys or a special mouse to operate a computer, people who are blind may use software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice, people with low vision may use software that enlarges screen content, people who are deaf may use a TTY (text telephone), or people with speech impairments may use a device that speaks out loud as they enter text via a keyboard. (www.washington.edu, 2007)
What is Facilitated Communication?
Facilitated Communication is commonly referred to as FC. It is more appropriately referred to as Facilitated Communication Training is one of many augmentative and alternative communication strategies that is used by some individuals who cannot speak or whose speech is limited and who cannot point reliably. The method involves a communication partner, typically called a facilitator (e.g. teacher, friend, parent) providing physical, communicative, and emotional support as the person points at pictures, letters, words, or other symbols.
The method has been seen as controversial. In some research studies, individuals using facilitation have not demonstrated that they were able to convey their own thoughts through the method. Some studies have revealed that individuals could be influenced by or pick up on cues from their facilitators. In other studies, individuals have demonstrated the ability to express their own ideas and to do so without influence or cue seeking. Many individuals have progressed from supported to independent typing, and communication. The goal of FCT is to achieve independent communication. The evidence of communication when supported with the strategy of facilitated communication should be documented on an individual basis.
The question of authorship can become particularly controversial when the subject of what has been communicated concerns sensitive issues. Such topics may include, for example, preferences about living arrangements, allegations of abuse, and selection of personal assistants. Individuals who use the strategy are encouraged to follow the guideline outlined in the Facilitated Communication Training Standards available through the Facilitated Communication Institute.
Who benefits from Facilitated Communication Training?
Individuals with severe communication impairments that compromise their ability to point reliably, initiate movement, or organize sequenced movements may benefit from the support described as Facilitated Communication Training. This may include persons with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, apraxia, or other development disabilities, or neurological impairments.
Who can be a Facilitator?
There is no formal certification process at this time to “be” a facilitator. However, it is strongly suggested that individuals wanting to learn to be a facilitator attend trainings on the strategy. Training should be provided by a Facilitated Communication Trainer. It is also suggested that new facilitators receive coaching from a Facilitated Communication Trainer and work toward meeting the standards outline in the Facilitated Communication Training Standards.
Is there a certification process for Facilitated Communication?
No, not at this time. The Facilitated Communication Institute does identify persons who have met the outlined criteria to be a trainer. There are trainings provided by Facilitated Communication Trainers that meet the criteria outlined in the Facilitated Communication Training Standards.
How can I get my school district to use FC?
It is suggested that you first see if FC makes a difference in the person’s way of communicating. If you do see there is a benefit than you as a family or direct service provider can learn to support the person to communicate more efficiently first. Once you are able to describe the individual’s way of communicating and the least to most amount of support needed for communication you may want to approach your school district with the new information. It is most important that we all be able to communicate in all environments, the family and direct care persons are usually the most consistent and available communication partners.
Is WAPADH vendored with Regional Center to provide communication services?
Not yet. We are in the process of working through the necessary paperwork for vendorization.
Do insurance companies cover your service?
Some do. This is dependent on the services provided in your personal insurance plan. Services are paid in full by clients, and can be submitted to their private insurance as a speech and language service as appropriate.
Are you a Medical provider?
Have a question that is not listed? Contact us, We’d be happy to answer.