The Wall Street Journal falls for Facilitated Communication

This has got to be one of the most deluded reviews of an FC-based production that I’ve ever seen. Joe Morgenstern has completely failed to do his homework. Here’s what he has to say:

intimate portraits from around the world of other nonspeakers with autism. Nonspeakers of out-loud words, that is, since these five remarkable youngsters make paintings, or spell out, letter by letter with pointer boards, written words and eloquent sentences that bespeak the centrality of communication in our gloriously gabby species.

“The Reason I Jump” is deeply informative. I thought I had a rudimentary understanding of the repetitive gestures or extreme introversion that may be manifestations of autism, but I tacitly assumed that being on the spectrum implied some degree of emotional impairment. So much for assumptions. Seeing the film, then reading the book that prompted it, swept all of that away.

The instrument of literal breakthrough for several of the film’s subjects has been the pointer board. It helps to enhance motor control for people who can’t write, let alone speak, and to organize cyclonic swirls of thoughts by reducing them to the basic units of written language, i.e. letters. One of the most stirring moments of the film comes when a previously uncommunicative and obviously bright young man named Ben declares joyously, “I never thought this was possible.”

(Full review here.)

2 thoughts on “The Wall Street Journal falls for Facilitated Communication

  1. Well, that’s pretty depressing. You’d hope that someone, somewhere might’ve said something during the editorial process, but I guess that process has been pretty much pared down to the bone these days.


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