Saturday, August 21, 2010

Facilitated Communication - Understanding the FC Dilemma

At start, I want to emphasize that mine is just one experience, which may or may not overlap others'. The psychological especially, is unique to each of us, but seeing my thought process may enlighten some to possibilities previously unconsidered.

I started facilitating under duress. FC is not something I would have volunteered for. I think it is an important point. FC will not be openly received by all. Sometimes an answer is not obvious at first sight or the problem is seen from a different perspective that escape other's reason. My perspective was conceived of rational thought as applied to interpreting false sensory input. As autists our data base differs from neurotypicals, even too other autists. Behavior that looks nonsensical may be perfectly reasonable when seen in context of another's data base reality.

I had no sensory awareness of my physical form. My identity was tied to thought. I believed expressing my thought would result in a lessening of self; the physical equivalent of cutting off a limb or draining off life's energy flow. When forced to FC I was so angry I shared the thought, telling Mom "Go to Hell". An Epiphany followed from the experience - I was still me. Sometimes it pays to have something stronger than the autism to grapple with. For me, that is my Mom. She is an irresistible force.

Mom just asked me if I know "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?" The answer is transformation. I have engaged in a lot of transformation these past few years, both forced and voluntary. Forced is just that. It may be necessary, but it is forced nonetheless. And forced breeds anger and animosity. It comes at cost and leaves its scars. Understanding this is the best deterrent to useless force. I understand sometimes it is the only way, but most times it is not.

I learned to type using spelling words not shared thought. Sometimes a slight adjustment in approach reaps huge rewards, both mentally and physically. Voluntary cooperation may be harder won, but it is worth the added time and effort to develop it. ABA is the biggest lie that way. Because they pretend work is play and rewarded, that work is cooperation. It is not. We sit and respond like puppets to directions of the puppet master. We are not free willed participants. We are not free to get up and walk away, or say "No,this is a dumb activity". It is a false perception they convey in suggesting it is a cooperative process and child cooperation is the outcome. We are slaves. You can put whatever picture face you want on us, but we are slaves in it and we know it.

FC was the first opportunity I had to say "no" and mean it, to express my rage at the injustices done me. I tell you this because the parent expecting to hear "I love you" may not. My first words to Mary Lapos were "I am smart" and "do you understand our love of God?". That is the importance of true communication. It is the communicator's choice of what is important to them. We need our facilitators to blank out, like a clean sheet of paper absent expectation of what scrawl will unfold on it. Relaxing is key; to give up your control to us as conductor in the music of words.

To fight my fears, my body, and your thoughts is too much all at once for me. Each presents as its own obstacle. The value of the spelling words for me was that it isolated the battle to my body alone at first. Subtle communications in answer to "Do you need a break?" or "Is there something you need?" slipped in after. It was need based communication, not emotion shared based communication that was most successful with me at first. It was a palatable start for someone who feared sharing his thoughts and did not understand or have control of his emotions.

For some, FC is freeing. For others it is tremendous work. For still others it breeds tremendous responsibility in trusting in God's plan and men's open hearts. I trust God's plan, but fear men's hearts. It is partly why I started with this goal rather than another.

You approach us like trust is an expected thing, but it is not. Trusting another's movement, motive and memory are each a separate issue we face outside our own. Sometimes you are our first hurdle. Recognizing it, acknowledging it, sets the tone for truthful exchange. Whether you do so by thought or word, it makes no difference. We hear you in your thoughts and actions. Keep them compatible. Your words and actions combined are the greatest reflection of truth. Truth that speaks of honest interest to help yields willingness to venture outside our comfort. It is the first step in FC, stepping beyond our comfort.

1 comment:

  1. w.i.s.d.o.m.

    (On a blog I sometimes post to, when they want to strongly, strongly emphasize something, they spell it out with a period after each letter.

    Here's and example:

    I l.o.v.e. my son!!)