Spelling to communicate (S2C) is an increasingly popular albeit bogus method whose proponents claim unlocks hidden language and literacy skills in individuals with significant communication impairments. Originally a version of facilitated communication (FC) popular in the 1990s, S2C is again being often touted as and believed to be an augmentative and alternative communication approach, but no evidence exists to support this extraordinary claim.. Spelling to communicate has likely captured the attention of family members and various professionals because this variation of FC shapes prompt dependency from physical to gestural forms, thus giving the appearance of authentic and independent communication that is actually generated by the prompter. Like FC, S2C may lead to allegations of sexual and other abuse against those associated with the user, including family members, professionals, and peers. This webinar will overview differences and similarities between FC and S2C so stakeholders can readily recognize and resist these techniques. Attention also will be given to recent events that reflect and contribute to the growing popularity of spelling to communicate in schools and clinical settings, particularly social and popular media as well as prominent S2C users. Advice for responding to and resisting requests to allow or support spelling to communicate also will be shared.

  • Objective 1: List two ways that spelling to communicate differs from evidence-based augmentative and alternative communication.
  • Objective 2: Identify three risks associated with spelling to communicate.
  • Objective 3: Identify three tactics to minimize the risks associated with proximity to spelling to communicate users.

About the Presenter

Jason Travers
Jason Travers is a professor of special education and applied behavior analysis at Temple university where he also serves as coordinator for the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in these two areas of study. A former public school teacher for students with autism, Jason is an expert in autism and developmental disabilities, particularly the education and treatment of children and youth with disabilities and interfering behavior. His research has focused on various topics related to special education including sexuality education, under-identification of racially diverse children with autism in special education, evidence-based practice, unproven and pseudoscientific interventions, and meta-scientific issues and trends in single case experimental research. He has published over 70 journal articles and book chapters, one book on sexuality education for learners with ASD, and articles in other outlets for organizations like American Speech Hearing Association and Skeptical Inquirer. He currently is a consultant for the United States Department of Justice investigations of unjustified restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities in public schools. Jason lives in a suburb of Philadelphia with his wife have three daughters. He enjoys walking his two dogs and playing cooperative video games with his daughters.

Course information

  • Title: Recognizing and Responding to Spelling to Communicate
  • Presenter: Jason Travers PhD, BCBA-D
  • Duration: 2 hours and 5 minutes
  • Customer Rating: (75)

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