Video: Laura Poorman on Facilitated Communication and Supported Typing: Answers to Key Questions

Facilitated Communication Trainer Laura Poorman discusses facilitated communication and supported typing with John Smyth.
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Answers to Key Questions About Supported Typing (Feb. 25, 2012)

Read the transcript of this conversation below the video.

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Transcript: Laura Poorman Answers John Smyth’s Questions

John: The understanding I have is that you assume each person is competent before they type with you.

Poorman: That is absolutely correct. I assume that everybody is smart, that they’re trapped in their body, that they’re not able to communicate, and that’s what’s holding them back.

J: The way I understand it is that some are more robust than others about participating.

P: To be honest with you, John, everybody that I have worked with so far has initially struggled in the beginning because they’re resistant. They’ve never had the ability to communicate, and it’s kind of scary for most people.

Even in the beginning, do you remember how times you got up and ran to the other room? Especially when we were talking about personal things, because that can be scary for someone who is not used to communicating. That makes a big difference. It depend sometimes, I think, on their level of maturity how ready they are to communicate; how ready they are to facilitate and come out.

For some kids it takes a little bit longer than others. You were pretty quick, because you had a lot to say.

J: What percentage would you say are successful?

P: The thing about facilitated communication that we both have to remember is that it’s not just Poorman and John; it’s Mom, and it’s Dad, and brothers & sisters; you, and other successful typers, have a remarkable support system, and to me that is the key. It can’t just be when the child is ready, it has to be that the whole family is ready.

Of all the students I’ve tried it on, probably 20 or 30 of them, you and Matt, and Seth, and Lindsey, are the most successful, and have stuck with it, because of your support system; because of your family and the support they have given you. You are the lucky ones, because you have siblings and an extended family that supports you.

So, if I were to give a percent, I’d probably say 50%. But of the ones that have total family buy-in and participation, it’s 100%.

J: Under what circumstances is the best to try this?

P: There are several things. The family has to be ready and willing to except it, and the person typing, the person speaking, has to be willing to speak. Those circumstances are the very best when they’re as mature and ready as you were.

However, I believe that if we can reach some children that are younger, that maybe we could invest in them, and maybe they would be starting sooner. You, Seth and Matthew were a little bit older. Lindsey and Jake were a little bit younger (when they started typing), and they’re doing a good job.

If we can hit the younger kids, that would be best. Unfortunately, sometimes they’re not quite ready. They have to reach a point where they are ready to let the walls come down and let people inside. You were there and were ready. And your mom and dad, and brothers and sisters were ready. Because of that, the circumstances were just right.
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