Typer Sue Rubin on Independent Typing

From Presentation By Sue Rubin (California, August 1999)

“I believe we cannot isolate physical independence from the other two elements of facilitated communication – communication and emotional support. Although I am called an independent typer because I no longer need physical touch, I cannot walk into a room, and type without a facilitator. The facilitator must still provide communication and emotional support to allow the independent typing to happen.”

What is Independent Typing?

Facilitated communication/supported typing is used:
  • With people with severe communication impairments
  • Persons with movement differences
Facilitated communication/supported typing involves:
  • physical support
  • emotional support
  • communication support
Moving towards typing independently is fading the supports given till the individual is typing on their own. Independent typing is the:
  • Long – term goal of facilitated communication training
  • Easiest way to achieve the goal is fading physical support.

Typer Chandima (Chammi) Rajapatirana on Independent Typing

  • “Being dependent takes away my feeling of total control of my life”
  • “Limiting the impulse towards independence is my fear that dependence is the only hold I have on people. This opinion is tough to let go of.”
  • “Attacking dependence is important, you have to assure me that it is safe to be independent.”

(April, 2005)

Why Independent Typing?

Independent communication should be a goal of all FC users in order to take complete responsibility of their communication, which will:
  • Help in validating their communication
  • Improve the FC users self-esteem and capability to do other skills independently

Fading facilitation should be a goal for all facilitators.

Typer Jamie Burke: 5 Steps to Independent Typing

  1. It is important for you to acknowledge the powerful emotion of fear and puzzlement in ourselves, and agree to support us with faith and belief in the ability to begin the attempt to give assistance in order to move through this.
  2. Our devices are our voices, but our needs change as our ability to type increases. This means we may need to change these devices as movement patterns change, or hand growth, or if visual issues change.
  3. It is so necessary to have the ability to help with movement issues and be able to create the dance between feeling the encouragement and the need to move to less support.
  4. To help this, then sensory issues that need to be integrated are necessary. Platform swinging, infinity walking, bilateral hand exercises, therapeutic listening programs, and neurological drumming therapies are all helpful.
  5. As the flow of typing begins to gain ground, ask the user if it is now possible to move up the arm.

(ICI Workshop Oct, 2012)

When is the Best Time to Start Independent Typing Training?

The goal of independent typing should begin at the time when the technique of supported typing is introduced:
  • Talk about independent typing as the ultimate goal
  • Fading facilitation should begin soon after the FC user and facilitator have become comfortable using the technique and established in the process.
  • These include looking at the keyboard and a set rhythmic movement while typing.
  • FC user should be sufficiently motivated for it to succeed.