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Presentation for Facilitated Communication Institute Annual Conference,

May 1999

 

Good afternoon and thank you for coming to my presentation about the difference between the skills a facilitator needs when supporting an FC user in academic situations as opposed to social typing.In academic typing a facilitatormust be far more skilled and organized.Very few social facilitators make good academic facilitators.I love typing with some social facilitators and know they would be disastrous in academic typing.Many friends are good facilitators but lack the skills needed to support me in college.

 

††††††††††† I started typing in eighth grade and was fully included in high school.As my class work became more difficult I began to clearly see that academics required a different group of skills on the part of the facilitator.I saw that social facilitators were very good when I was typing about personal issues.I recognized walls developing when I had math.When my facilitator was a mathaphobe. I had trouble answering questions even though I knew the answers.I think this was due to lack of confidence by the facilitator.When I did math with a mathaphile it was a pleasure..I think most Americans fear math and when a facilitator fears a subject he prevents the FC user from expressing his knowledge.

 

††††††††††† I also noticed that when the facilitator was lacking understanding of a subject, such as physics, it was very difficult for me to type.I really understood the material, but had to overcome the facilitatorís negative influence. I was able to do this, but was very difficult.FC is sometimes described as doing a dance and here I was dancing by myself while dragging around my partner.When I did the same work with people who were physics majors in college, it was a pleasure.I was dancing with my partner..

 

††††††††††† During this time I was typing socially with these same lousy facilitators. We typed either independently or with very little support and had no problems at all.Then I stated college and yelled up a storm when my wonderful social facilitators failed at supporting me in class.I was o.k. with classes that required me to read, listen to lectures, and arrange information in acceptable English. I was able to plot my class participation so I could keep up with the pace of the discussion.The problem arose when I had to come up with original thoughts when doing essays or a research paper..My experience had previously been regurgitating what I had heard in class or read.What I discovered was that I needed a very structured process to enable me to organize myself.Without this structure I didnít answer the question and rambled on.The facilitator had to provide the external structure so I could think clearly and in a focused way.Lack of organization by the facilitator was deadly.

 

††††††††††† I will go through the process of my writing an essay that requires research so you can see what is required by the facilitator.I need to have the assignment in front of me at all times so I keep my essay focused on what is being asked.I need the facilitator to remind me occasionally to look at the assignment while I am in various stages of collecting information and writing. I also need help using the internet and the library.If a staff person uses the internet and doesnít ask me if I want to go to the library I sometimes canít initiate that conversation.The facilitator must do the internet search with me so I can participate and he must ask me if I want to go to the library too.I also need help taking notes on cards.I cab read very fast and I know what I want notes taken on, but the facilitator must do the writing for me.He should ask me what I want on the note cards, then also write the authorís name and page on the card so I can have the information for footnotes.I then need to organize the paper.The easiest way is with an outlline or a list.I am familiar with Venn diagrams but donít use them.Lacking a list or outline, I canít put my thoughts in a logical sequence and I donít answer the question asked.

 

††††††††††† I then begin typing and referring to my research.I can then fall in love with my essay and it will develop according to my original thoughts.I use physical support for speed even though this means there is occasional influence.I know when I am being influenced and will write a paragraph over and over until I am comfortable that it is mine.I need the facilitator to be focused on what I am writing.He must call out each word so I can type ďnoĒ if that was not the word I wanted.I could make better use of the delete key, but I am not comfortable going to the upper right section of the keyboard.After a paragraph is finished the facilitator must ask if I want to make changes,.I will often start a paper several times before I am satisfied with the first paragraph and I often make changes within a paragraph.The facilitator must frequently read what I have typed so far so I know what it sounds like.

 

After the essay or paper is finished the facilitator must ask if I am happy with it.I then type where I want to make more changes.I let the facilitator type the footnotes and works cited because I know how to do it, and it is mechanical. not requiring original thoughts.

 

††††††††††† Social typing always was easy for me.I started typing when I was in the eighth grade and can type socially with many people. I sadly have only been able to type academically with a few.I was counting on making my social facilitators into academic facilitators but this has not happened. The social facilitators cannot do math with confidence and are not organized enough to keep me focused on an assignment.Getting an assignment completed sometimes requires a visit to my motherís house.I wanted to be independent of my mom but I still require her to bail me out occasionally.†††††††† I am lucky I live near her so we can get together.

 

††††††††††† When I started typing independently on July 4, 1996 I was assuming all influence would be gone.That has not happened.I still can be influenced when physical support is required when I write long assignments.I zap the influence immediately by deleting it.I also can be influenced by the ;people around me.Some people are somehow on the same wave length as me and I eat them like candy.I can be influenced by them when they are not the facilitator and certainly can when they are the facilitator. I am conscious of this influence but cannot prevent it.If it occurs while in a social situation I sometimes type things I donít want to.In an academic situation I will keep rewriting until I prevail.I know this sounds very strange and I canít explain it, but I do know it happens.

 

††††††††††† ††††††††††† If anyone has any questions, I will answer them now.