I was raised as being retarded because I could not communicate. My frustration level was off the charts throughout my school years. The many times I got in trouble were driving me crazy and I couldn’t even be a tattletale so I was teased a lot. However, I did learn stuff like speed reading and square roots but the teachers didn’t know and I didn’t tell them.Good things happened as an adult when my agency decided to try facilitated communication and that began to make me join the real world at last. Yet they rarely had anyone type with me. It was years before I allowed my mom to facilitate and then my life made big bunches of progress.
The best methods of learning are now something I can do as there is meaning to my life as I can now communicate good thoughts, and even a few not so good, but they are real. The old me is gone forever.
The new me can talk with intelligence about tons of subjects that I know a great deal about, especially US history and the Civil War. I have gone to Adult Basic Education and made up for some of what I missed in school. Mostly I have discovered I am good at writing and more than anything I want a job using those skills.
My journey is not yet complete but I have made great strides and I look forward to making progress in the future. The trip has been hard but being able to communicate has made me a new and better person.
Todd Washburne: Social Activist
Here is a letter-to-the-editor typed by Todd:
Dear Times Argus Letters to the Editor:
I am writing about the news of Facilitated Communication and how it helps people like me. Without FC I could not communicate. I started using it seven years ago. Now I can speak for myself, and can have the life I have always wanted.
Some people are saying that FC is fake. But if you have the FC facilitator properly trained FC is good. You must trust your facilitator to not translate what they are thinking, but ask you to be very clear with your thoughts. That is the way for people to know it is coming from you.
I have come a very long way these past seven years, to be the person I always knew I was, because of FC. I am forty-six years old and for thirty-nine years I had no way of letting people know how I think or what I needed, to have a full and rewarding life.
Now I am able to achieve all the goals I was thinking about for all that time I was in the dark ages.
I am autistic and can’t speak. So when I learned to type using FC, my world opened up. I have a facilitator who gives me support by putting her hand on my arm while I type.
We need to have more trained facilitators so that our voices can be heard, and we can be like everyone else, and have a truly full life.