The persistence of fad interventions in the face of negative scientific evidence: Facilitated communication for autism as a case example

  title={The persistence of fad interventions in the face of negative scientific evidence: Facilitated communication for autism as a case example},
  author={Scott O. Lilienfeld and Julia Marshall and James T. Todd and Howard C. Shane},
  journal={Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention},
  pages={101 - 62}
Abstract Communication disorder and mental health professionals may assume that once novel clinical techniques have been refuted by research, they will be promptly abandoned. Using facilitated communication (FC) for autism as a recent case example, we provide evidence to the contrary. Although FC was scientifically discredited by the mid-to-late 1990s, data we review demonstrate that it is still frequently administered in clinical and educational settings. We examine evidence for FC’s (a… 

“Attention: Myth Follows!” Facilitated Communication, Parent and Professional Attitudes towards Evidence-based Practice, and the Power of Misinformation

Abstract Facilitated Communication (FC) is a non-evidence-based intervention with documented dangers that continues to be used with some children with autism spectrum disorders. In this response to

Social Validity of Evidence-Based Practices and Emerging Interventions in Autism

Although social validation of the goals, methods, and outcomes of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in autism treatment is a significant factor in their selection and effective use, EBPs are typically

Rapid Prompting Method and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Systematic Review Exposes Lack of Evidence

This systematic review is aimed at examining the effectiveness of the rapid prompting method (RPM) for enhancing motor, speech, language, and communication and for decreasing problem behaviors in

Facilitated Communication: The Resurgence of a Disproven Treatment for Individuals With Autism

This column examines the use of one such false treatment, facilitated communication, that has reemerged despite a substantial body of evidence discrediting it.

Brief Report: Perceived Evidence and Use of Autism Intervention Strategies in Early Intervention Providers

It is found that higher perceived evidence was linked to greater future use intentions for empirically supported and unsupported practices and the need for accurate information across practice types is highlighted.

Creating Inclusive Societies for Autistic Individuals: Negating the Impact of the “Autism Can Be Cured” Myth

This chapter will explore the myth that autism can be cured and will examine the origins and impact of this myth, which relates to a medical model of disability.

Stolen voices: Facilitated communication is an abuse of human rights

Abstract Despite the overwhelming research evidence discrediting the validity of Facilitated Communication (FC), Lilienfeld, Marshall, Todd and Shane (2015) have demonstrated that the use of FC is

Picture Exchange Communication System and Facilitated Communication: Contrasting an Evidence-Based Practice with a Discredited Method

Abstract Learners with autism require specialized education and supports to ensure acquisition and mastery of various communication skills. This is particularly true for individuals whose disability

The Impact of Social Media on Communication Sciences and Disorders: A Need for Examination and Research

  • P. Finn
  • Medicine
    Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups
  • 2019
This editorial is a call for action to researchers, educators, and clinicians to examine how social media has impacted the scientific practice of communication sciences and disorders.

Some fads never die—they only hide behind other names: Facilitated Communication is not and never will be Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Abstract Parents of nonspeaking children with autism are vulnerable to treatments that promise them a whole, normal child hidden within the nonspeaking child. Facilitated communication (FC) and the




Autistic-spectrum disorders are among the most enigmatic forms of developmental disability. Although the cause of autism is largely unknown, recent advances point to the importance of genetic factors


Professionals, celebrities, and media frequently suggest to parents the possible treatment options for their children with autism. Some treatment recommendations advocate for scientifically supported

Evaluating the impact of facilitated communication on the communicative competence of fourteen students with autism

Evaluated facilitated communication as an augmentative or alternative communication system for students attending the Eden Institute in Princeton, NJ found no support for the cause-effect relationship proposed by FC proponents.

Voices from the past: Comparing the rapid prompting method and facilitated communication

The history and damage caused by facilitated communication is reviewed and the parallels between FC and the Rapid Prompting Method are highlighted to ensure the safety of people with disabilities that are involved with RPM.

Behavior analyst use of and beliefs in treatments for people with autism

With the increase in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism and scientific support solely for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment, a proliferation of professionals have sought ABA

Facilitated communication and autistic children: the problem of authorship

This paper explores the authorship of the written production of children with autism who need to be physically and emotionally supported by a competent interlocutor in order to communicate.

A case study in the misrepresentation of applied behavior analysis in autism: The gernsbacher lectures

A case study in the misrepresentation of applied behavior analysis for autism based on Morton Ann Gernsbacher’s presentation of a lecture titled “The Science of Autism: Beyond the Myths and Misconceptions” is presented.

Autism, "recovery (to normalcy)", and the politics of hope.

  • A. Broderick
  • Sociology
    Intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • 2009
It is asserted that moral and political commitments should be central sources of visions of hope and, therefore, inform educational policy and decision making for young children with labels of autism.

Psychological Treatments That Cause Harm

  • S. Lilienfeld
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2007
The field of psychology should prioritize its efforts toward identifying potentially harmful therapies (PHTs) and place greater emphasis on potentially dangerous than on empirically supported therapies.

Facilitated Communication and Its Legitimacy—Twenty-First Century Developments

By 2001, Facilitated Communication (FC) had largely been empirically discredited as an effective intervention for previously uncommunicative persons with disabilities, especially those with autism