Tuesday, 26 August 2014


I was recently at a meeting of people who communicate by typing.  This (below) was my response to a question about art and painting.

The pictures are of me working with Janet, who is the art teacher at The Tertiary Place (TTP).  We paint together on Thursday mornings and I look forward to these sessions every week.

The gift of the paint is presented before me.

Then the picture in my mind's eye flashes up on the screen of my thoughts.

Reality becomes a mixture of light and shadows and hues which reverberate through my senses.

Ready to organise my body with each stroke and watch the canvas materialise into the projections bursting forth from the void in my head.  Some deep unknown mystery.

To brush and weave colours is a beautiful process unfolding.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Environmental Support

In my last blog there were two video clips and this time I have more video from the same session with Matt.

This video (transcript below) illustrates things that can distract me from good typing.  Things like rain and traffic noise and even having mum behind me with the camera.  I think that there are lots of people the same.

Why can I face the camera and feel fine but feel uncomfortable when I can’t see the camera?

Hey – that last letter.  Great work because it’s easier finding it when you are in the rhythm, but you’d stopped the rhythm.  I came back here and you found the letter “a” to finish it off.  Well done.

Do you think I do need to be trying to type more like this?

You are trying to type like this, alright?  I think you are doing enough trying.  You’ve got to get that balance right between enough time trying to type faded, which is a little slow at the moment, and typing faster.  I think you’re getting a good balance, alright?

Now, you did a couple of times there some great stuff, in terms of you started off from around the hip before you actually got the rhythm.  The only thing you needed from me was the pull-back to the midline in terms of a starting point.

More feedback from Matt - (video here)
Ben, when you veer off to go towards the right side – which is something that I think I’ve noticed with you from day one, is that slight veering to the right – when I see that happening when I’ve got the hip support, that’s when I grab your hand and bring it back and place it at that midline mark.  It’s like that re-setting, which is something that I get the impression you’ve done from a very early age – because one, you can feel it and two, because I know Jane [Jane Remington-Gurney, who first taught Ben to use Facilitated Communication].

Usually when starting off fading what I’ll do is I’ll fade back the support towards the end of the word.  So the person has got the rhythm, and they would potentially have the motor plan there for some of the words.  So it’s easier at the end of the word because of them not having to initiate that motor plan, which I think is then connected with the rhythm – somehow – not being interrupted.  But what I’ve seen today is Ben, you’re having many interuptions to that rhythm, but you’re managing to get it back up and running and initiate the completion of the word you were half way through.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Physical Support

I want to explain why it has been such a long time since my last blog.

A group of people within an organisation called ISAAC (International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication) have been trying to discredit Facilitated Communication (FC) for many years.

The ISAAC Organisation decided to put out a position paper on FC and they put together a group of researchers most of whom did not believe in FC.

Lots of people around the world provided evidence in favour of FC but this was all ignored.

The position paper was accepted by ISAAC and will be published soon.

Mum and Dad put a lot of time and effort into their submission and are now thinking about what comes next.

There are literally thousands of FC users around the world who are feeling threatened by the ISAAC decision.

I say that we cannot allow ISAAC or anyone else to take away our voices.  This blog may help you to understand more about FC.

While Mum and Dad have been focussed on the ISAAC research it has not been possible to prepare the videos for this blog.  They and I hope you will understand.

About the Videos

I remember the early days with Matt.  It was difficult for me and no doubt for him.  Then things got easier as we became used to each other.  After a few sessions Matt started to fade up my hand wrist and arm.

These videos show the process and how Matt would explain things to me.  I hope you find them both illuminating and entertaining.

Transcript - Part A. (Click here for link to video.)

Typing is going to be dodgy today.

What makes you say it’s going to be dodgy today?  You know, your typing actually is beautiful today.

Typing this way is fine, but hard when you touch shoulder. 

Hmm.  So what are you thinking about today? Do you want me to go back to the shoulder and challenge yourself?  Or … 


Well, you just let me know like you usually do.  Then I’ll come back. It’s good to have a mix of both, hey.  One of them is like – when you need fast communication – fine.  If you’ve got something that you want to write.  Or you’ve got something in your head that needs to get out – that’s fine.

Tell me something .  Is it something that’s important to you – like, typing with a touch on the shoulder?  Or not?

It is, but it’s hard.  Especially when I need to think lots about what I am typing.

That makes sense, you know.  That makes a lot of sense.

Do you think I could get past shoulder?

Yeah, I do.  I think you’ve done past shoulder before.  Like, that is past shoulder.  That’s back touch.  You’ve had back touch before.


Transcript - Part B. (View video below.)

So where to after back?

Well, in fading, it’s either going down or going up.  Although … up – towards your head – looks daggy.  Something about someone putting their hand on your head, looks daggy.  But apart from that someone was telling me there’s also a spot, like, lower down which is something to do with nerves and something to do with proprioception and kinaesthesia …

Oh, do you want to try it?

It’s not up to me.  We can give it a go, but I don’t think it’s about being “ooh, we’re going to start off here”.  It’s about, when your typing is holding your focus, OK, so that you’ve got a rhythm started within your typing, and then that helps you to keep that rhythm going when I don’t give as much touch support.  Alright?
So I can ask you that question.  “Oh, do you want to try it?  What do you think?

Sure, but I may get crabby.

What do you want me to do if you get crabby?

I want you to tell me to keep going.

(While Ben is typing this line, Matt fades physical support to waist.)

Look where I was.  Well done.

Ben. That was fantastic!

Really cool!

OK.  So see how my job is to work out when you are firing on all cylinders – when you are going great with your movement.  That’s what’s happening.  I noticed it straight from the go today.  That’s good.

Get in a good position.  Make it easy on yourself.  That’s the way.

Do you think I can do it again?

I know you can do it again.

(To be continued in the next blog.)