Want to sell something to a parent of an autistic child? Give them what they want most. Woomeister after woomeister delivers on this. Give them hope, tell them they can recover their child. Better yet, tell them their child is in there, underneath the autism and FC will let you talk with them.
Woodards describes it clearly but misses it entirely:
"But Lester and Linda Enoch of Bowie are convinced of its merits. Last year, a Syracuse representative met with their 14-year-old son, Marcus, to determine if facilitated communication would be right for him. In the course of the conversation, Marcus cried, said he thought the representative was a nice person and said he was frustrated at not being able to be understood. He also told his mother that he loved her."Want to hook parents? Just provide what so many parents of children with severe autism and intellectual disability want more than anything to hear: their child is locked in, just waiting to be freed. Who's going to walk away from FC then? Really?
Want to make sure to keep people ready to believe and on the defensive? When you make your video promoting FC, make sure to suggest that anyone who dares to question the validity of the communication wants to deny autistic individuals communication. After all, only a big bad meanie would suggest that the communication isn't genuine; make sure you say the skeptical scientists are in essence calling the autistic individual a liar (never mind that the scientists aren't questioning the autistic; they're pointing out that the facilitator is the one creating the communication and in effect taking advantage of desperate parents and denying the autistic individual the chance for authentic communication).
I don't know if Hartman doesn't get a lot of traffic yet to his site, or if the people he's getting there already buy into the warped view of autism, but this gem is offensive:
"People with autism have something to teach all of us: We can either continue to justify the way we think or behave and remain autistic or we can explore the creative, artistic nature of who we truly are." Stephen C. Hartman, LCSW-CWho else reads this as autism being bad and that it can teach us how not to be? Hartman doesn't seem to think much of autistic people, really: "Whole Self Center’s philosophy suggests that every human being, even a child with autism, is more than a body with a brain."
And the reporter, Woodards, doesn't seem particularly interested in looking into the legitimacy of FC:
Critics question the validity of the method, since the user's hands are being held over a keyboard by a parent, caregiver or facilitator, leading some to believe they are being guided in their responses. In 1994, the American Psychological Association issued a resolution in which it called the method an "unproved communicative procedure with no scientifically demonstrated support for its efficacy."As I responded in an email exchange with her, they do a great deal more than question:
When you go to the site, you can watch trailers for two videos that will set you back nearly 70 bucks if you're tempted to buy them both. And of course, viewer recommendations there are by the same individual whose quote is the closing line for Woodards' article:
"Once they're open to it and convinced that it's actually their kid inside that's speaking, it's not that hard," Gabor said. "People facilitating need to practice in order to learn the rhythms of the motor movements of the person that needs the help."In that one line, you have the quintessential reveal. Once you convince the parents, it's just not that hard. You know, like Wakefield, the Geiers, and Haley. You appeal to their gut, what they most want, and then you've got them. Hook, line, and sinker. It's just that easy.