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Anna-Kaisa Sipilä and Kaarina Määttä

Can the Facilitated Communication Method Support Autistic People, According to Facilitators' Opinions?

AAC practitioners and researchers have developed non-speech communication strategies and technology greatly during the past 30 years. This article concentrates on one of them: the Facilitated Communication Method. The aim of this research is to describe the facilitated communication method in the light of the perceptions and experiences of facilitators (N= 11) who have assisted handicapped people with expressing themselves with this method. The purpose is to bring out the use of the method, its preconditions and functionality, especially among autistic people. The data was gathered by semi-structured interviews. The research was based on a qualitative research paradigm with a phenomenographic method. The results show that no common formula for how to make the facilitated communication method succeed can be found, because every communication situation is different. However, the method aids many people with communication disabilities who are searching for a communication method that supports speech replacement.