I say “mostly,” since there are practices associated with FC that appear to be legit. Also, I know that this is a mainstream opinion outside the autistic community, but it’s still contrarian for these circles.

The unqualified belief in facilitated communication is a form of ableism, since the parents and practitioners who believe in it refuse to accept the fact that their child may have a severe or profound intellectual disability. They are desperate to unlock their child’s hidden intelligence to prove that they have value, rather than valuing their children for who they are, ID or no ID.

A lot of facilitators are simply naïve and truly believe they’re unlocking the hidden abilities of the people they’re supporting. The same goes for disability activists who loudly defend FC, thinking that it’s a legitimate way to help autistic people communicate with others. They confuse the ideomotor effect (aka the Ouija board effect or the Clever Hans effect) with actual communication, probably out of a form of wishful thinking.

But other FC defenders are clearly trying to take advantage of people with severe and profound ID, including Anna Stubblefield, a former Rutgers professor of ethics (!) who sexually abused a Black man whom she “mentored” as a facilitator. Her mother, Sandi McClennen, is the head of the Autism National Committee, an organisation that actively promotes FC. (I was at an AutCom conference several years back. I was more than a little disturbed. While there, I heard McClennen positively refer to her daughter as “Anna Stubblefield” without saying that she was Stubblefield’s mother, and defended the relationship between Stubblefield and her victim. I don’t know whether McClennen was being naïve or unscrupulous, but I don’t give a shit. That poor man was being taken advantage of.)

On top of that, autistic writers may be accused of using FC if they write “too well” to match the autistic stereotype. This, too, is a kind of ableism engendered by FC. It discredits the entire community.

But I’m willing to believe that some forms of supported typing are real, especially if they take pains to make sure the ideomotor effect isn’t confused with independent typing. Credible forms of supported typing or communication prove themselves to be legitimate when the person graduates to independent typing later on, which does happen. Classic facilitated communication, on the other hand, takes advantage of vulnerable people and their families. I am often critical of the medical establishment and its discrediting of disabled people, but this is not one of those cases. Facilitated communication is discredited for good fucking reason.