The Path to Independence: Step 4 – Documentation of Facilitated Communication Progress

As Facilitated Communication (FC) training continues, it is important for the support team (FC trainers, family members, teachers, etc.) to know how far down the Path to Independence the FC user has come. Specific guidelines and standards are needed to support the ongoing use of FC.

Evaluation of a person’s progress with FC can be done through observation and documentation of the content of their communication and their actual pointing and typing skills over time. This can be part of a communication portfolio.

Portfolio Approach to Documentation for FC

A portfolio approach to documentation is a structured way of collecting information over time on an individual’s progress with FC focusing specifically on authorship, and independence. The FC user is directly involved in the portfolio documentation process. Most accurate documentation is done when there are adequate supports in place for FC for an individual, for example:

  • Multiple, trained facilitators
  • Regular opportunities to use FC
  • Support team members are actively involved with the FC user, and communicate with the facilitator/trainer(s), on a regular basis

As facilitators and FC users build competency, it is important to document that progress. Methods of collecting information can include the use of forms, logs, transcripts and videotapes.

The ICI Portfolio Assessment Guide developed by the Institute of Communication & Inclusion at Syracuse University is an excellent tool for evaluating and monitoring that progress.(PDF opens in new window) [divider_top]

What is documented?

  1. Instances where the person has done successful message passing, i.e., conveying information unknown to the facilitator
  2. Demonstrations of independent pointing and typing
  3. Patterns of unique typographical errors and creative/phonetic spellings; unusual syntax and expressions
  4. Similarity of communication style across facilitators
  5. Correlation between speech and typing

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