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History of Supported Typing

What came to be known as Facilitated Communication was discovered independently in several countries. Rosemary Crossley began using physical support to help non-speaking individuals communicate in Australia during the 1970s, and continued to develop the method throughout the following decade.  Doug Biklen’s visit to the DEAL Center (Dignity, Education, and Language) in 1989 and subsequent research and publication (“Communication Unbound,” Harvard Educational Review, 1990) led to the rise of FC in the United States during the early 1990s, as well as the establishment of the Facilitated Communication Institute at Syracuse University in 1992. Since then, use of the method has grown and many individuals who once needed significant support have demonstrated the ability to type with no physical touch and/or to read aloud what they are typing.  Training from skilled facilitators and coaches can now be found through organizations around the United States and the world.

In 2010, after nearly two decades of existence, the Institute is taking on a new name -  the Institute on Communication and Inclusion (ICI).  The ICI name represents a broadened focus, reflecting lines of research, training, public education and information dissemination that focus on school and community inclusion, narratives of disability and ability, and disability rights. Its initiatives stress the important relationship of communication to inclusion.

Click here for a timeline of the history of Facilitated Communication and the development of the Institute on Communication and Inclusion.