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Sue Rubin


††††††††††† Hello, Iíd like to discuss with you today the journey towards independent typing.When I began using Facilitated Communication at the age of 13, I lacked a key component for being a successful communicator.Focus.With great diligence from my mom, I was able to develop a thinking system that enables me to stand in front of you today and aid others in becoming budding typers.Although I am called an independent typer because I no longer require physical touch, I cannot walk into a room and type without a facilitator, which is of course my next step to refining my communication system initiating truly self-governed typing, free of a facilitator.


There are steps of fading that result in greater independence.The stages are as follows; position the keyboard where it is most comfortable for your arm extension.Facilitators call each letter after typed and each completed word to verify that was the word intended.After the thought is complete, I tend to move my hand away from the board so that my facilitator knows that I have finished my phrase.It is helpful for the facilitator or participants of the conversation to respond quickly and keep the typing going so that my awful autistic tendencies do not surface.I have found that keeping focused through typing yields fewer behavior problems and less echolalic burble.Facilitators are vital in keeping the encouraging and sometimes stern prompts coming.By this I mean verbally telling the FC user to stay focused, lightly touching their shoulder to reestablish a connection between finger and board or repeating the words or letters typed to remind us where we were going with the phrase.This is my experience.Each personís needs will be different, the facilitators must problem solve to promote a supporting environment.Facilitators try different board and sitting positions to create more fluid movement for the FC users.


Once communication is created, I implore both FC users and facilitators to begin fading immediately.Confidence makes independence happen and how better to create confidence than to build a self-determining communication and thinking system.Being successful at each level of fading is an enormous step.Many people I meet are supported at the wrist.That is a great place to start, but it should be brief.Very often we users get use to more support and are reluctant to continue to fade and type more independently.This is why urging from facilitators to gradually diminish support is such an integral part of FC.


For every one of us there is a time when we encounter people who just do not believe we are typing our own thoughts.I found that was a very frustrating part of learning to be a better communicator.I strived so hard to create words and phrases. To meet people who were skeptical of my thoughts was devastating.Not all times are people going to believe these are our words, that is why obtaining independence is essential.This cynicism empowered my emotions to cancel my fear of independence and move forth with the fading process. There are those individuals who are inhibited by physically low muscle tone and difficulty with extension.For those people independence can still be a goal, and with time an achievable one.I admit that I still have difficulty typing long essays independently but I am able to type longer and faster than I had been able to two years ago.We have long lives and much time.Independence is attainable.


I really want to encourage FC users to do whatever they have in their minds so they could be independent not only in typing but in all aspects of their lives.It forces people to admit that we are not retarded and are typing our own thoughts and living at our will.It awards us tremendous freedom.I love being independent and it is definitely worth giving up the security of physical support.