Facilitated Communication / Supported Typing: A Case for Action

By John Smyth
Apr 28, 2012

John Smyth and his dad Jim enjoying a day at Conner Praire during Fall Break

John Smyth and his dad Jim enjoying a day at Conner Prairie during Fall Break

It is estimated that 110,000 people nationwide are trapped in unresponsive bodies, including a number of severely autistic children and young adults like myself.

Being trapped, we are unable to communicate without a trained expert to discover us.

We can’t tell our parents that we love them, can’t explain what hurts when sick, can’t explain what medicines are doing, and can’t make basic choices in life that others take for granted.

Without communication, we can’t explain why we behave in certain ways or what we are experiencing.

  • Our parents can’t know our voices, love, level of intelligence, or how to help us best.
  • Our doctors have to guess about care because there is no way to understand from us what is working or any side effects.
  • We can’t communicate with brothers or sisters.

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The Isolation of Silence: A Pain that can’t be Expressed

For me, it was like being buried alive for 16 1/2 years. The isolation was terrible. I know many more kids over the years whom I believe are still in the same circumstances that, only by grace, I escaped through Supported Typing, also called Facilitated Communication.

I and others like me were rated as low intelligence and placed on educational tracks because educators usually can’t communicate with us.

Yet, because we are often extremely bright, we have contributions to make to our families and communities that are being lost while we die inside of boredom, desperation and loneliness.
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Breaking the Silence: Facilitated Communication Gives a Voice to the Voiceless

If this continues, many will never share their special, God-given voice. Our families and caregivers will never know the love and appreciation we felt, our intelligence will never have a chance to contribute to a different perspective, and society will have far higher than necessary costs of care over our lifetimes because of our complete dependency.

This terribly desperate situation is also a huge opportunity for you and I individually to give someone their life back, and to give parents their children back.

For me, I got my parents back at a whole new level the moment I could communicate, tell them that I love them, and that I was desperate to communicate all of those years in isolation.

Getting my family back was priceless, and I am forever grateful. Fortunately, the woman who discovered me is still in our area and loves helping others.

What would it mean to you to know that you gave someone their life, their family, or their child back? At the end of your life, when you think of all the things you accomplished, how high would that be on the list? What do you think God would say about that?
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The autistic person can’t speak for themselves. They need your help.

Families don’t know about Supported Typing. It can be a lifesaver, the key to opening The Frosted Window and joining the world of communication.

The greatness of our own generosity will be measured in some way by how much we do to get the word out and help others experience this process. Will you help us give life to those in desperation? You may be the angel God sent for someone. Please email back that you are willing to help or if I can answer questions for you.

John Smyth
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