The Path to Independence: Step 3 – Create & Implement an FC Training Plan

The key to successful Facilitated Communication (FC) training is to create and implement a well-constructed training plan:

  • FC user and facilitator agree upon steps towards independence:
    • When will we practice?
    • What activities will we use?
    • How often will we reevaluate our plan?

  • Establish at least 1 independent method of communication
    • Yes/no
    • ABCD
    • Rate this…

  • Build Confidence
    • Be supportive and encouraging to one another
    • Use what is working in daily communication routines


Step 1: Set Goals

What next step can you take toward developing greater independence? See Strengths & Strategies Profile, below.

Step 2: Create a Plan

Elements of Facilitated Communication Training (Click picture for larger image.)

Elements of Facilitated Communication Training (Click picture for larger image.)

Create a working plan based on the Elements of Facilitated Communication Training:

  • Dynamic Support
      • Support is not linear; You may fade from the wrist in most situations, but you might go back during times of stress or fatigue
      • Verbal coaching may be needed more at the end of the day than in the morning
      • Coaching
        • “You can do it”
        • “Look at the M now get it”
        • “Lift your arm”
        • “Look at the letter you want”

      Coaching is a Process of Teaching – Not Assessing

      • Provide scaffolds: Multiple choice, word bank, yes/no, pictures
      • Work on an independent yes/no and A,B,C,D response right away
    • Movement and Rhythm – Movement and rhythm supports might fade while doing predictable work, but be needed when moving up the language ladder
      • Support Movement
        • Supportive seating and device placement
        • Finger isolation
        • Support sensory needs
      • Teach to THINK, LOOK, MOVE
        • Pull back
        • Start with something predictable
        • Pointing Activities
      • Support Rhythm
        • Metronomes
        • Voice
        • Background music
        • Drumming
        • Tap the table, the persons leg

Step 3: Implement Plan – Start FC Training

Start down the path to independence by following your plan and strive to reach and exceed your goals.

Set Work – Set work is any activity which allows the FC speaker to point to an answer that is already known to the FC listener.

The Language Ladder - adapted from Rosemary Crossley (Click picture for larger image.)

The Language Ladder – adapted from Rosemary Crossley
(Click picture for larger image.)

  • Setwork activities enable both the FC listener and the FC speaker to build confidence in their ability to facilitate; to “get a feel” for the motion that is most successful for the FC speaker and to insure a no-fail starting point.
  • The Language Ladder (adapted from Rosemary Crossley)
    • Conversation
    • Self Expression
    • Open ended Questions
    • Less Predictable
    • Predictable work


  • Three goals of ongoing practice:
    • Keep open communication with support
    • Practice independence at scheduled times
    • Fade support during times of open communication

Download "Our Journeys on the Road to Independence," typer Jamie Burke’s personal perspective on the steps he needs to take to reach his destination, Independent Typing.

Practice Exercises and Activities

Imbed Communication Throughout the Day

  • Make personal choices:
    • Clothes to wear
    • Games to play
    • Food to eat

  • Access Academics:
    • Yes/No
    • Multiple Choice
    • Fill in the blank
    • Comments and participation

  • Share Thoughts:
    • Reactions and feelings about experiences
    • Preferences
    • Ideas and comments


FC Training Games and Activities

  • Create a Comic Strip – explore your creative side:
  • Write an Acrostic Poem – try the RearWriteThink Acrostic Creator
  • Create a Wordle – Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.
  • Play Choose your top three… Come up with fun categories like:
    • Things you would do if you suddenly inherited 1 million dollars
    • Responsibilities your parents have that you’re glad you don’t
    • Adventure trips you’d like to take
    • Dog breeds, hair colors, etc.
  • Pointing games:
  • Spelling Games:
  • Predictable Activities:
  • Unpredictable (Open-ended) Activities

    Strengths & Strategies Profile

    Developed by Paula Kluth and Michele Dimon-Borowski in 2003, the Strengths & Strategies Profile can be used as an attachment to a positive behavior plan or as a communication tool for teams who are transitioning a student from teacher to teacher or school to school. A student’s team (e.g., teachers, family, therapists) should work together to fill in this form. Ideally, each list should contain NO LESS than fifty items.

    Download a sample Strengths & Strategies Profile by P. Kluth & M. Dimon-Borowski (PDF opens in new window)

    Typing to Communicate in the Classroom: Strategies to Ensure Success in the Classroom

    Strategies used to create a successful education for communication aid users in the classroom are a part of current research in the field of education about Universal Design. Universal Design for classroom teachers suggests that teachers and support staff should work together to design lessons so that all students in the class can be involved. This requires that the teacher consider the unique qualities of all the students in the class while in the planning how to develop curriculum.

    Download Typing to Communicate in the Classroom: Strategies to Ensure Success in the Classroom

    Next: Step 4 – Documentation of Progress