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About the Institute on Communication and Inclusion

Who are we?

The Institute on Communication and Inclusion (ICI) is a research and training center that is part of the Inclusion Institutes of the School of Education at Syracuse University. Formerly the Facilitated Communication Institute, our new name -  the Institute on Communication and Inclusion - represents a broadened focus developed over the past 20 years, reflecting lines of research, training and public dissemination that focus on school and community inclusion, narratives of disability and ability, and disability rights, as well as research and training on facilitated communication.  Its initiatives stress the important relationship of communication to inclusion.

The Institue is led by Director Dr. Christine Ashby. It has distinguished itself as a national and international leader in FC and AAC training and research. This has taken form not only scholarly publications and books, but also through other mediums such as film, including the Academy Award® nominated short documentary "Autism is a World," the upcoming "Wretches & Jabberers and Stories from the Road," and other nationally syndicated films.

What is our mission?

The following principles define the ICI’s mission:

  • Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say; The Institute adopts a “presuming competence” approach to all individuals with whom it works
  • Individuals with disabilities can inform communication practice and research
  • The goal of facilitated communication training and other forms of augmentative and alternative communication is independent expression, controlled by the person with a disability; professional and lay supports for communication training require careful attention to quality technique to maximize the opportunity for achieving independence.
  • People with disabilities have a right to participate fully in mainstream society and to have a voice
  • When one intervention strategy does not produce the hoped for results, it is not appropriate to blame the individual; it is incumbent upon the researcher or professional to seek other ways of accomplishing success

What do we do?

Research

The ICI is an active research institute, and the nation’s leading resource for information about supported typing. Research topics, developed in consultation with scholars and practitioners around the globe have included:

  • Strategies for enabling individuals to become independent in their typing
  • Parent/family experiences
  • The relationship between typed communication and speech development
  • Autobiographies of people with disabilities who use facilitated communication
  • Inclusive schooling and community living
  • Sustainability of communication support in schools

Training

The ICI provides training at all levels including;

  • Introductory workshops and technical assistance for families and professionals new to supported typing
  • Skills enhancement for those who will coach or train others using facilitated communication

Public Education and Dissemination

The ICI provides public access to the most up-to-date information about supported typing through:

  • Publications- Research articles and books by Syracuse faculty, graduate students, and experts
  • Training manuals, guides and videos
  • Documentaries- Film accounts of individuals who learned to communicate with facilitation, including Academy Award® nominated “Autism is A World” and the upcoming "Wretches & Jabberers and Stories from the Road"
  • Lectures and workshops- Seminars and workshops feature regional and national presenters from diverse disability-related fields

Come practice with us! We are holding Open Hours in the ICI for individuals who type to communicate and their facilitators to practice their skills.